The Quintessential American Barn Cuckoo Clock
That’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 shaped that way at all. That’s okay, gambrel speaks to many as a dairy barn, so we’ll go with that.
Googling “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.
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.[/caption]
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…
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?
Let There Be Music!
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!
In 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
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
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.)
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!
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!