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The first Black Forest Cuckoo Clock was designed and made by Franz Anton Ketterer in the small village of Schönwald near Triberg, Germany, in the area known as the Black Forest. Ketterer managed to reproduce the cuckoo's call by using a bellows and producing two different sounds.

Over the following years, the clock industry developed rapidly in the Black Forest. With cleverness and dexterity, the clockmakers of the region spent the long winter months making cuckoo clocks with richly handcarved decorations from various woods. In 1808 there were already 688 clockmakers and 582 clock peddlars in the districts of Triberg and Neustadt.

During those long winter months, the farms were snowed-in and the people had time to create finely handcrafted cuckoo clocks of many styles with rich and varied carvings.

The cuckoo clocks that were made in winter months were sold by clock peddlars in the summer months throughout all of Europe. The clocks were secured on a frame and carried on the back. They were works of art, sought after luxuries that people all over Europe desired.

This ancient craft continued to develop, becoming soon a flourishing industry. The poorly lit attic spaces where watchmakers worked have become light and well-equipped workshops where clock movements and cases are manufactured by modern methods. But the woodcarvings are still handmade by skilled masters as they were 200 years ago. Old clocks and original drawings of the first clocks are still used and modified as patterns for new models, but the cuckoo clock in its basic form is 200 years old. The cuckoo clock is a clock of the past, present and the future, still much loved by children and grandchildren.

 

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