American Barn Design 9


The Quintessential American Barn Cuckoo Clock

american barnThat’s my goal: to create a clock that says American farm through-and-through. It’s been interesting to reflect on such a notion.

Being from New England I had in mind my own vision of an American Barn. Red, that gambrel shape — oh wait! Suddenly my own definition of what a signature American barn is became fuzzy. Many Vermont barns are attached to houses and aren’t barn cuckoo clockshaped that way at all. That’s okay, gambrel speaks to many as a dairy barn, so we’ll go with that.



Pennsylvania hex signsGoogling “barn” I found pictures of Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs on barns, a sight I saw a lot growing up and travelling in the East. Yes, what a great addition to the clock! Once I had my barn drawn out for the cuckoo makers in Germany I added the photo you see here thinking a few would be fantastic on the clock. It’s interesting that now that I’ve shown the prototype to a few people some have never seen such a thing. That’s okay, I’ll write an article about them for the web site and those who aren’t familiar with hex signs can enjoy learning about this tradition brought over from Europe and made part of our culture.

Barn Clock Critters

American Barn Cuckoo Clock

My first glimpse of the Barn Clock as I fetched it and brought it home from the cuckoo doc. I had to hold it in my lap all the way home.

Onto the critters. As soon as I showed the barn on Facebook people started suggesting cow breeds. Oh my goodness, people feel as strongly about cows as they do dogs! What it boils down to is “barn” and “farm” mean different things to different people. Jersey cows to some, Herefords to others, and Holsteins for another contingent. That black and white will look smashing! We’ll see…

Let There Be Music!

Barn Cuckoo Clock

This is a snapshot from a prototype. The final layout will not be exactly like this.

The super excitement for this clock is that it will have music! This came as a surprise to me. I had learned that the only way to get back and forth motion is with a music box. (The pivot motion so common on cuckoo clock is powered by the bellows.) The factory manager in Germany waited until last to reveal the side stall  with the horse and pop the news that the horse would poke his head in and out of the stall. He knew I have horses — and turns out he did too before he and his wife had children. It took me over night to put two and two together — oh my! — the clock will have music!

As I write this the plain prototype clock box is hanging on my wall. I’m awaiting images from Germany so I can give the factory direction as to the final layout of the critters and barny accounterments on the clock, find out if they were able to make the roof tin, etc. With the music and all of the detail this will be the most expensive clock to date, so I’m anxious to see where the cost will fall. And a catalog is anxious to get the clock on their pages as soon as possible. So am I!

Now the big question is, what Barn Quilt block for the side of the horse’s stall? As soon as I have photos I’ll be asking for suggestions.

See the American Barn Cuckoo Clock in Action

Update 3/18/2017 We’ve Got a Cuckoo!

Barn CuckooIn February I traveled to Germany to introduce my cuckoos to the international trade. Then I pointed my rental car south from Frankfurt to Schonach in the Black Forest. The morning I reported to work at the factory. The factory manager and I met with the case maker and carver for the American Barn Cuckoo Clock and worked out the last design decisions.


Barn Animals

This box of farm animals that Mr. Kinzler placed on the table when he walked in reminded me of a set of metal farm animals my Mom brought out every Christmas. German? Yes! It’s amazing when connections like that happen. We auditioned and stood back, tweaked, and then all beamed at our accomplishment.



Mr. Kinzler went back to his workshop and — tada! – last week I received these photos of the finished first American barn Cuckoo Clock

Barn Cuckoo Clock

The horse pops in and out of his stall as the music plays. Yes, that’s my bay horse Harley!

And those are his shoes on the anvil? (Wait, my farrier Eric may take issue with that. Show him a shoe and he can tell which on my horses threw it, and from which hoof.)

Horse Barn Clock






Yes, that’s a mouse on the horse’s stall door!











Mr Kinzler did a fantastic job on the weather vane. Can’t you hear the rooster crowing?





We decided (with a little help from my Facebook friends) that a black & white cow says “American family barn” best, so Mr Kinzler had one painted for the clock.
The black and white cow and the scale of the fence are just right.

The details, such as the ladder on the Barn’s wall, truly make this clock special.

FYI the holes are for the bellows, so we can hear the cuckoo coo.







When the cuckoo calls the farmer hoes!





American Barn Cuckoo Clock



Here it is, The American Barn Cuckoo Clock complete with its very own Barn Quilt.  Eeow!

The clock has been sent to the catalog that is considering offering it. I’m so anxious to receive my own (via the slow boat) and to hang it in it’s spot next to The Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock and the Backyard Birds Cuckoo Clock. Three clocks = a business!

See the American Barn Cuckoo Clock in Action

Jodie Davis


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9 thoughts on “American Barn Design

  • Marty Enslin

    I am just wondering if you have found out a selling date on this clock, we are anxiously waiting! I hope you have put me at the top of your list when it arrives!

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Marty,

      I wish I had a date!

      We finalized all of the details while I was in Germany week before last. I just got pricing. (I think it’s going to be an 8-day. Its such a special clock with all the animals and music, I don’t see it making sense to go with a 1-day movement to try to pare the price down.) So now I just need final photos and one of the three prototypes they’ve made sent to me, and one to Keepsake. They have said they can get my first order here in time for Keepsake to get it in their next catalog, which means early May, and means it needs to go into production NOW. So that answer is SOON!

      I appreciate your enthusiasm immensely!

      Do you have a vote for the quilt block that will go on the side of horse’s stall?


    • JOdieRD Post author

      Oh thank you Greg! I have a few more to post in the next few weeks.(See me panting trying to keep up with so many wonderful things to do!)

      When I go back to Germany I will visit the makers of different parts of the cuckoos and video tape and photograph them and the process. Plus, dig into the history. And my friend and cuckoo doc extraordinaire Keith Seabolt and my top-notch videographer friend Ivan Machiz and I have a date to start taking super duper quality how-to videos for everything from setting up a cuckoo, to setting the time, and trouble shooting.

      So, lots of cool stuff coming up, over time.

      I’ll go add you to my email list. Thanks for asking. Feel free to offer any suggestions along the way!


  • Donna Fitzgerald

    The “cuckoo” in this case should be a rooster that says “cockadoodle-doo”!

    I would love to see a cuckoo clock made like a gingerbread village scene: baker, rolling pin, running gingerbread man, with christmas tree. Just a thought.

    I love the quilter clock.

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Donna,

      That would be fun, but I’ve decided that all the clocks are to be true cuckoo clocks with bellows — authentic!

      I’ve gotcha covered on that second idea, already sketched up and penciled in for 2018 or 2019. This year the casemaker is working on a Christmas Shop. Since it’s based upon the Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock I figured it would be easier to get designed and ready in time for this Christmas versus the Gingerbread House which I envision being a different shape, perhaps starting from scratch. I am also thinking maybe it should have gingerbread dancers and music, so it will take more time to work out the details.

      Thanks for the kind words about the Quilt Shop. I am thinking of making a second version with a different front to it. Not so traditional German.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Very much appreciated!


  • Frederic

    Very nice work! I have two questions:
    – What will be the dimensions and weight?
    – What are the shipping arrangement to other countries (Canada).?

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Frederic,

      Thank you! I am incredibly pleased with it.

      Judging by the plain Barn without the goodies which I have here, it’s about 15″ x 15″ and 8″ deep. Since I don’t have the finished clock I can only guess at the weight. The 8-day Backyard Birds Cuckoo Clock is 13.5 pounds boxed, so the American Barn Cuckoo Clock should be maybe a pound or two more.

      I ship UPS to Canada.

      Drumming my fingers awaiting one from Germany to photograph and make a video,