Friday, December 19, 2008

cuckoo clock speaker

I haven't been able to post here in a while. We at North Coast Imports have been busy playing the role of the elves - getting all of our charming and beautiful cuckoo clocks and other timepieces out to holiday buyers.

Here's something completely off topic:

This interesting project by French artist Stephane Vigny, is a combination of a cuckoo clock and a giant loud speaker. When the bass is loud, the largest speaker on the bottom is released on a hinge-mechanism and catapulted into the room, retreating back to the cabinet when the sound softens. Although we're not sure if this increases the dance action of the space, it's a cool idea to allow sound to exist as a kinetic object of sorts.
Stephane Vigny Art
via: Makezine

Friday, November 28, 2008

Animated Town Clocks Around the World

Everybody knows about the clock in Munich and Prague, but did you know about Tokyo? I really like the music...

Here's another one in Tokyo.

And, of course, fans of North Coast Imports already know about this one in Ohio...

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

watches from outer space

Here's something interesting...

Forget diamonds - one Swiss watchmaker is betting on watches made from moon dust, parts of the Apollo 11 rocket and bits of spacesuits to capture consumer cash as an economic slow down bites.

More than 600 watchmakers have the Swiss brand stamp, so Geneva-based Romain Jerome aims to use "inaccessible materials" to set its products apart from rivals such as Richemont's Vacheron Constantin and independent watchmaker Patek Philippe.

"We chose the space conquest," he said. "Going to the moon was the biggest adventure of human kind."

The group will make 1969 watches - matching the year of Neil Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin's first journey to the moon - for the "Moon Dust-DNA" collection.

The watches, which start at $US15,000 and can cost as much as $US500,000, will be launched in Geneva on Wednesday and presented to customers at next year's Baselworld, the largest annual fair for the watch and jewelry industry.


Meanwhile, at the North Coast Imports nerve center, we are working on presenting our own (considerably less expensive) watches from outer space. We will have a few pieces available from the prestigious firm Poljot International which is the upscale, German factory that produces fine examples that were worn by Soviet Cosmonauts.

In addition to the old Russian styles, there are some stunning new designs. These are made in Germany, with German quality control. Stay tuned, we've got a few models in... send us an email if you are interested.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Ideas for Cuckoo Clocks

Ingolf Haas is starting a movement of re imagining the cuckoo clock. North Coast Imports is proud to be introducing this new and exciting line of handcrafted works of art. Stay tuned for more designs.

Experimenting on the cuckoo clock is a real trend among designers and conceptual artists. Here's a wacky idea, that may not make it to mass production: a cuckoo clock based on the movie Stanley Kubricks's The Shining... (click on the link and scroll down)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Catalogs are Away!

Be sure to visit your nearest North Coast Imports dealer! The new cuckoo catalogs are arriving in a store near you this week. The selection is fantastic. Choose the most fascinating and beautiful designs from Romba, Sternreiter, and Hubert Herr!

In the meantime, do you remember this?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Corpus Clock

Dubbed the strangest clock in the world, it features a giant grasshopper and has 60 slits cut into its face which light up to show the time.
Its creator John Taylor said he "wanted to make timekeeping interesting".


That's pretty much NCI's mantra - "Making timekeeping interesting." In addition to our own clocks, it's great to find extravagant works of horological art being produced throughout the world.

This one is pretty fascinating. Although it has LED lights and an electric winding motor, it is otherwise all mechanical with a grasshopper escapement.

By the way, our new cuckoo clock catalog should be finished printing by Friday. Make sure we have your favorite clock or jewelry or gift store on file so that they will receive our new catalog.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Catalog Preview

You saw it here first! North Coast Imports is pre-releasing our NEW Cuckoo catalog #56. You can download a PDF of the 40-page, pre-print, rough draft here:

Please keep in mind that this is still a rough-draft copy. It's colors are not very sharp, and there are a few pictures missing. We were so excited, we wanted to put out an advance copy, but for full details and pics visit our main website at All of our cuckoo clocks are up there, even with movies of each clock!

To have and hold your very own copy of the catalog you can print out the PDF!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Looking Back in Time, part 1

This is the first of a series of posts about interesting early clocks. and the new clocks that were inspired by them.

Su Song was a renowned Chinese statesman, astronomer, cartographer, horologist, pharmacologist, mineralogist, zoologist, botanist, mechanical and architectural engineer, poet, antiquarian, and ambassador of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). He was the engineer of a water-driven mechanical clock in medieval Kaifeng which used an escapement similar to the modern anchor escapement. It was also the first known clock to use the "endless chain drive."

The clock was a giant astronomical clock with mechanically animated puppets.

For more new clocks similar to this ancient idea, check out our website at

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trying to keep a good thing down?

University Park (a suburb of Dallas) is the home of a man with a vision. Karl Kuby wants to install a huge outdoor cuckoo clock above his Snider Plaza restaurant and market, but the government may get in his way.

What shopping center wouldn't look better with a cuckoo clock, let alone a giant one?

Take comfort, Mr. Kuby, we cuckoo clock lovers are behind you!

Fans of North Coast Imports know that our founder, Karl Schleutermann, built these giant cuckoo clocks for theme parks, shopping centers, etc. Here's his famous creation at Alpine Alpa or Grandma's Homestead:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What did the Swiss invent?

Even though this little quote has done so much to spread the misnomer that the Swiss invented the cuckoo clock, I still love the movie. The Prater hasn't changed all that much, except there's no way you can open the door when it's up high. I rode on it again a few months ago.

For a pretty good history on the cuckoo clock take a look at the Wikipedia

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sternreiter gets noticed

Sternreiter alarm clocks have been featured on BoingBoing!

If you don't have our immensely popular alarm clocks yet you need one. Whether you are a North Coast Imports dealer or a late sleeper - you need one of these clocks!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Clock History

The James Burke television series of the '70s, Connections still remains immensely popular. He had a real knack for telling the history of change.

In this episode Burke is talking about the history of the clock, and how it relates to the development of the computer as well as mechanized production and the development of the U.S. as an industrial power.

He starts here by explaining early Arabic theories in astronomy and astrology, as well as European contemporaries' need for hourly prayer in the Dark Ages. Burke takes us through history, pointing out the need for an accurate clock and the rise of Christiann Huygens's important invention: the pendulum clock.

By the end of the first segment here, Burke introduces the verge and foliott - the exact escapement found in our "Rock Clock" which was in use in the Black Forest in Germany in 1640. In the second segment listed here he talkes about a fusee mechanism and goes on to show other mechanical marvels like our cuckoo clocks - or our "Rottenburg", for example.

The entire episode is available on YouTube in segments. I would highly reccommend checking the entire series out of your local library or favorite video store.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Attention All Dealers, and fans of NCI!!

Dealers, watch the mail! Our Spring Flyer is on it's way to you and there are lots of great deals on our best-selling products. Don't miss it!

Fans of NCI, get to your favorite Sternreiter or Romba dealer and find out all of the wonderful specials made available.

Some of the specials are already all gone and closed out, so don't forget to act fast. Make sure there are some of these sweet pieces on your wall to sell!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

How to attach the hands

A lot of confusion can crop up with hands that aren't cooperating. For example, sometimes it may look as if you clock has stopped but in reality the hands just aren't moving because they are too loose on the shaft. Sometimes one hand might be turning normaly, while the other stays still. Sometimes your clock might not be chiming or striking or calling when it's supposed to, but does it just before or just after the hour.

If any of these things apply to you, don't worry, your clock isn't broken, it just fell out of adjustment.

Clock hands are purposefully kept finger-tight or friction-fit so that they can be easily adjusted. Many clocks have very different methods for holding hands on. Most modern clocks follow some variation of the cuckoo clock model (discussed here in great detail) but there are a few that still follow the traditional example of antique clocks.

The Tapered Pin is, to the clockmaker, as the nail is to the carpenter. This is an elegant, slender pin with a very slight taper. It's purpose is to go through a hole on the end of a shaft and its taper allows friction to hold it in place. The hole is often on the end of a rod with a locking washer between the tapered pin and the object it is holding.

Many things on a clock are held together with the tapered pin method. Dials are held on, movement plates are held together, and of course hands are held on with tapered pins.

In the picture below you can see the shafts on which the hour and minute hand fit. The larger shaft (which is tapered) is called the Hour Hand Cannon. This rotates slowly around the smaller shaft which is circumscribes. The smaller shaft is the Minute Hand Shaft. This is often (but not always) squared - either the whole length or just at the end.

In the picture above, you can also see where the tapered pin fits in the end hole.

In the picture below, you can see how the hour hand fits on the Hour Hand Cannon. In this example, the minute hand assembly has been left out for clarity. As you can see, the hour hand slides back: over the cannon. The taper of the Hour Hand Cannon holds the hour hand in place.

If your hour hand is loose, simply slide it back further on the tapered cannon in the direction of the arrows.

Below is a picture of the minute hand assemply and tapered pin. Here, the hour hand assembly has been left out.

In this example, the minute hand has a squre hole that fits directly onto a square shaft. This is not always the case. Sometimes the minute hand has a round hole which fits over a square washer or bushing - more similar to the cuckoo clock example here. What is important in the example above is the way that the locking washer pictured keeps tension on the minute hand. In this drawing considerable space is shown so that you can distinguish between the parts but actually there should be no space between the minute hand, the locking washer, and the tapered pin.