Monday, November 30, 2009

The Restoration of a Black Forest Automaton

With the help of a good friend, we were able to track down a clock that has been on our want list for many years. Christmas has came early to our private museum Sorry Santa!

This clock had been in the same collection in the UK for over 50 years, until making its way to Black Forest USA. This Black Forest Automaton is one of the hardest of all the complex BF automa clocks to find, with only a small handful in existance. He was made C.1870 in Schwarzwald, it was made for the English market.

This post will focus on our conservation efforts to bring him back to its original beauty.
When he arrived to us, he came with nearly 140 years of grime, wax and smoke build up. The figure was very dark, much of the original color seemed to be lost. We brought him to a renound art conservator, who very carfuly cleaned years of grime from the figure. The original finish was in fantastic condition, we opted to do NO TOUCH UP, but to leave him 100% original.
After the cleaning was done, a new clear varnish was applied to protect it for another centry. We could not be more pleased with the outcome!

We have attached a you tube video of the clock in action! For more detailed photos, or to see other clocks in our private museum check us out at

Related posts: Beer Drinkers, Automata, Dumpling Eaters, and more Beer Drinkers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beer Drinker

There is a long tradition of Beer Drinking automata in the Black Forest clock world. Certainly, there is some cultural significance to beer in Southern Germany. It may come as no surprise that beer is featured heavily in art and crafts from that region.

I recently found this great automaton on YouTube.

This one is interesting because it actually features a tube and pump of liquid being poured and swallowed by the mechanical figure.

There are also several new clocks, available today that feature a drinking figure, both in cuckoo clocks, and large mechanical figurines.

Stay tuned for a forthcoming post from Justin and his new prize: an Antique Black Forest King Beer Drinking Automaton.

Related Posts: Automata, Beer Drinkers and Dumpling Eaters

The Magic Clock: an awesome Whereabout Clock

From Makezine:

MAKE subscriber bumpercrop writes in to share this excellent Harry Potter-inspired whereabout clock, The Magic Clock. In the story, the clock is a magical item with hands that show the location of each family member. This beautifully constructed remake does the same, except that twitter feeds, a hacked router and a custom clock movement are used in place of unspecified magic. I love the attention to detail, especially the aged brass faceplate and homebrew clock movement that allows each hand to be controlled independently.

Here's another one, from John McKerrell:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More on How Cuckoo Clocks are Made

Meet Christophe from Robert H. Uhrenmanufaktur.

He's a very special clockmaker in the Black Forest in Germany. He produces our very special models #8365 and #8366. There are very few of these clocks made and each is made by hand - one at a time.

Here is a pictorial on the process of carving the special Long Bahnhäusle and Gothic style cuckoo clocks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How Cuckoo Clocks are Made!

I was glad to see that someone uploaded this documentary to YouTube. Fast Forward to 5:39:

Most of the shots are from our very own Rombach und Haas!!

...of course, the carvings aren't done from "pine or plywood." Black Forest cuckoo clocks are carved from Linden wood.

Here are more pictures from one of our specialty Black Forest cuckoo clock makers:

This was for a custom made clock for the Prince of Baden. Below, the carver is seen constructing our special Long Bahnhäusle cuckoo clocks:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cuckoo Clock Design Contest

Images via Designboom

We found these great new concepts for cuckoo clocks online which were created as part of a contest for forest conservation.

Designer Naoto Fukawasa created a beautiful cuckoo clock using timber removed
from over-planted forests. The project was done in conjunction with Isetan, a Japanese department store, and More Trees, an organization that works with forest conservation in Japan and overseas. But the fun didn't stop with just one cuckoo clock. The display consisted of 50 customized interpretations of the clock by 50 different artists and designers from all over Japan. The whimsical and amazing clocks are enough to stop anyone in their tracks.

[via Treehugger and Designboom]

Don't forget about our popular design cuckoo clocks here.

The ClassicSpace will soon be featured in ReadyMade magazine in early 2010. Stay Tuned...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Special Musical Clock by Emilian Wehrle

Fall is here, and as the weather cools we start to spend more time indoors. During the cold months we really pick up steam focusing on our collection of Black Forest clocks.Today as I was doing some "house keeping" dusting the collection... I thought of sharing this wonderful clock we have with you.

This fantastic clock has been in our care for many years.

Made C. 1874 this Singing Bird Clock (Singvogeluhr) by Emilian Wehrle of Furtwangen... is as impressive today as the day it was made.

The fully feathered bird is 6.5 inches from beak to tail. It is fully automated with movements in his beak, head, and tail.

Perched on the top of the clock on a carved vase of fruit and leaves, it is clearly visible and looks alive.

The carvings on this clock are all done in walnut, and the style of the case is very unique.

This clock utilizes a robust brass plate movement, with large double pumping bellow system mounted above the clock works (very similar to Wehrle's Trumpeter and Flute Clocks.)

The clock movement generates it own air pressure and by opening and closing a valve, air is moved through a large flute with a plunger. A cam wheel on the back operates the valve and the plunger to reproduce the sound of the song bird while controlling the bird and the Automation.

The beak runs in perfect sequence with the large song and boy does this bird look and sound alive!

This clock is featured in Emilian Wehrle's 1874 Catalog as No. 1 (see illustration). Originally, it cost of 180 Gold Marks in 1874. Just to put this into perspective, a very nice Beha cuckoo could be had for 25 marks.

Very few of these Singing Bird Clocks were made, even fewer survived. Making them almost impossible to locate today.

I am not aware of a museum worldwide that has a example of a Em. Wehrle Singing Bird Clock, although there are a few in private collections.

This unique clock was also published in the 2008 edition of Schwarzwalduhren, by Berthold Schaaf (The authoritative text on Black Forest Clocks, see sidebar for a list of other recommended reading and resources.)


Justin J. Miller

For more information on Singing Bird or Whistling Automata:
Article, Whistling Clock Peddler, Singing Birds in a Cage

...and here's a video of a modern "slide whistle" mechanism Justin describes above:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Handmade Orrery

I found some great pictures of a handmade Ferguson's Orrery from Makezine

Designed circa 1750, the core of the mechanism depends on gears of differing ratios to illustrate the movement of the moon's nodes and apogee as the earth revolves around the sun. It can be used to illustrate many things, including eclipses." Jim further states he was inspired by Ian Coote, see Ian's page about the orrery here.

[via Makezine, via Tina Buescher]

We have offered a few different Orrery clocks in our collection in the past. Each of them are works of art with limited availability. Be sure to watch this space so you know when we have another one available!