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Most of us regard keeping track of time as a drudgery and a chore. Our clocks are wholly utilitarian objects that function only to govern our lives, keeping us on track day to day, pushing us from waking to sleeping, from task to task. Having a clock is then, by all means, a necessity, but no one said keeping time had to be boring! Imagine a clock whose entire history is steeped in fable. Imagine a clock that's more than just a clock. It's a conversation piece, a work of art, and a story to tell your grandchildren. If you're imagining a cuckoo clock, you're already on your way to appreciating the folklore and desirability of these unique machines.
No one knows for sure who first “invented,” the cuckoo clock, but references to a similar device were made as far back as 1629. Most legends of the creation of the cuckoo clock originate from the birthplace of fairy tales themselves—the Black Forest region of Germany. The Black Forest area is now considered the mecca of cuckoo clock craftsmen, and to this day, artisans are constantly re-inventing the clock's aesthetics, coming up with newer, more intricate designs and miniature “stories” that play out as the hours are chimed. Black Forest cuckoo clocks have remained largely unchanged design-wise in their hundreds of years of popularity. Many feature rich ornamentation in the form of carved deer, leaves, acorns, and other forest flora and fauna. Some are a bit more plain, with a painted “shield” front instead of one adorned with carvings. All feature a cuckoo who springs from behind a tiny set of doors to announce the passing of the hours, and all are made of rich wood that evokes the place from which they came. Aside from Black Forest cuckoo clocks, Swiss-made clocks can also be had. A common misconception is that the Swiss invented the cuckoo clock, and while they have made a unique design contribution, they did not begin creating cuckoo clocks until the 19th century. Swiss cuckoo clocks are set apart from Black Forest clock designs in several ways, one of the most notable being that they don't always contain a cuckoo. Some Swiss-designed clocks offer woodchoppers, beer drinkers, and scolding housewives in lieu of the traditional bird-in-a-clock scenario.
No matter what your home décor, there's a cuckoo clock for you. Choose a large, fantastical design to act as a focal point in your living room, or a compact, more simplistic design for your breakfast nook. A cuckoo clock in a child's bedroom not only encourages good timekeeping skills, it also act as an heirloom piece that can be passed along to the child as they grow older and move away. Stumped for the perfect gift idea? For a present that's distinct, memorable, and useful, you can't beat a cuckoo clock. The best part is that you don't have to buy a plane ticket to Switzerland or Germany in order to attain a cuckoo clock of your own, nor do you have to pay outlandish costs to have one shipped from Europe. Thanks to the Internet, cuckoo clocks can be purchased from anywhere at anytime from online stores that import the clocks for you. Welcome an artistic piece of myth into your home and put the “fun” back in functional!