Cuckoo Clock Movements

Jun 13 07:57 2012 Les Fehr Print This Article

What ticks inside a cuckoo clock and how all the parts work together. From the cuckoo call to the figurines moving to melodies being played. The precision mechanical movement is the brains of the clock.

Cuckoo clocks use mechanical movements to wind the clocks time. Make the cuckoo bird call. Make animated figurines move like beer drinkers wood choppers children on a teeter totter as well as play melodies.
 By pulling on the chains with the weights and bringing the weights up to the top just below the clock winds the movement. As the time piece moves the pine cone or weight moves down with the chain that is attached to it. When the weight gets to the bottom of the length of chain the weight has to be pulled back up to the top.
There are 2 types of mechanical clock movements installed into these cuckoo clocks. A 1 day movement and an 8 day movement. The 1 day needs to be wound every 24 hours and the 8 day has to be wound once a week. Ninety percent of these movements are called a Regula movement.
There are a couple cuckoo clock companies that build their own movements like Hubert Herr. These precision clock movements are built in Germany in the Black Forest area. The 1 day movement is called regula 25 and the 8 day is a regula 34.
The mechanical 1 day cuckoo clock uses 1 movement or train to work the time piece as well as the cuckoo bird. There is 1 chain and weight used to wind the time piece and another chain and weight to wind the cuckoo bird.
With the mechanical 8 day clock it also uses 2 chains and weights to wind the time piece and the cuckoo bird but these weights are larger and heavier than the 1 day chains.
There is also by regula 1 day musical movements and 8 day musical. These movements have an extra movement or train built into the unit to play the melodies. One of the trains works the time piece and the cuckoo bird and the other train works the melodies.
The 1 day musical movement uses 3 chain and weights. One to wind the time piece one to wind the cuckoo bird and the third one for the melodies. This is the same for the 8 day musical movement.
On the front of these movements is the rack and snail that count the hours for the time piece. These are the black pieces in the middle of the movement. The long wire sticking up from one side is where the cuckoo wire where the sits on.
This movement has 2 trains which work independently of each other with 1 common part or shaft that comes out of the middle of the movement and the clock hands are attached to it. The cam is behind the snail and lifts a lever that releases the strike at the right time to move the hands.
Each train uses a weight to make it work. The ratchet wheel that the chain and weights are attached to are at the bottom of the train. At the back of the train is a star wheel that lifts the levers that control the bellows for the cuckoo call and the gong hammer.
This is the basic workings of the Black Forest Cuckoo Clock movement.

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Les Fehr
Les Fehr

Les Fehr is the owner of a website that sells cuckoo clocks. There are different styles of clocks. Animated figurines, chalet style fronts, farm house style fronts. All these cuckoo clocks are hand carved, hand painted. Visit my website at

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