Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Cuckooland Museum

Cuckoo Clock, Black Forest, ClockImagine if you will a place you can visit when touring the United Kingdom filled with cuckoo clocks, tools, and vintage motorcycles.  I realize it is not the usual type of museum but if you are into any of that, this is the place to visit.

Cuckooland Museum is located in Tabley, Knutsford, Cheshire, England.  It was founded about 20 years ago and is currently recognized as having the largest collection of cuckoo clocks.

This museum has a collection of over 600 clocks from the Black Forest region of Central Europe.  The very first cuckoo clock they found, a rare parquetry style, dated back to 1850.

Although no one is sure who actually invented the cuckoo clock,  Franz Anton Ketterer is said to have made the first one in the Black Forest region in about 1730.  This clock was based on a concept from the 17th century combined with a reference in a book to the sound of a cuckoo bird indicating the hour.

There are two tales floating around one of which may or may not be true explaining who made the first clock.  One story says that two traveling salesmen came across a man with a cuckoo clock and became so fascinated with the item, they had to sell it and became rich men.  The other story claims a clock maker so loved the way church bells told every one the time, he decided to create a cuckoo clock which used a cuckoo clock to announce the hour by popping out and cuckooing the number of hours.  Soon, the popularity of the clock spread and everyone wanted one.

There are two basic types of cuckoo clocks, one is the traditional type with a face carved out of Linden wood while the other is a chalet cuckoo clock which looks a bit like a house.  Both have chains and weights in the shape of pine cones.  Since every clock is hand made, each is unique and an individual.

The owners of this museum, brothers who are both clock repair people, have spent their time collecting mostly rare and unique cuckoo clocks for everyone's enjoyment.  In addition, they also have some cuckoo and quail clocks which sound a quail call on the quarter hours while the cuckoo sounds on the half hour and hour  while  a cuckoo and echo clock made by Beha.

Regular tours are offered showing the wide variety of clocks they have collected over the past couple of decades along with a pipe organ and a vintage motorcycle collection.  Furthermore, they have accumulated a good set of Black Forest Tools.  I didn't know about this museum until I saw a small factoid somewhere telling the name had changed from the Cuckoo Clock Museum to the Cuckooland Museum.

I plan to check it out the next time I visit the United Kingdom but if you are near there, check it out.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

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