History of the Black Forest Cuckoo Clock

The very first known Black Forest cuckoo clock was created over two centuries ago by Franz Kettler in a small village in the Black Forest Germany. The first cuckoo clock was hand crafted, as they still are today, and all have a wood carved cuckoo bird which was animated by using a variety of weights and pendulums. After Franz Kettler introduced his invention to others in his village the Cuckoo Clock industry was born and began its rise to world wide popularity. The origins were in Schönwald, Triberg and Schonach three towns very close together in the heart of the Black Forest. These are the towns where the oldest clock makers are to be found today. All of the suppliers of the clock parts are from this region, such as SBS Feintechnik maker of the clock mechanism based in Triberg.

The first cuckoo clocks were shield clocks with a painted shield and calling bird, followed by the Bahnhäusle (train line house) and then the hand carved cuckoo clock, followed by chalet clocks.

From the origins in the Black Forest with its very cold winters and difficult agriculture, necessity of the hard life gave the Schwarzwald folk the skills of wood carving and clock making. Together with competitions amongst the clock makers we benefit today from a great diversity of styles and designs of the beautiful Black Forest cuckoo clock.
The beauty of the small industry today is that the clocks are still handmade and hand carved. The VDS (Clock Makers Association) assures every cuckoo clock is an original made in Germany and still stages the same historical competition to find the clock of the year.