Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Johann Baptist Beha Cuckoo With Life Size Bird

Johann Baptist Beha was one of the most influential...and now famous clock makers to have ever lived in the Black Forest. Today his clocks are prized among collectors and museums . Johann Baptist Beha was a quality clock maker in Eisenbach, Germany ...during the mid to later part of the 19th C. His clocks were made of the highest quality, and were expensive. While other clocks makers would cut quality in order to compete based on price in a more competitive global market... Beha never gave in. He continued to produce a quality clock, and sold them to people who could afford them.

This piece is a very special Beha cuckoo, and one of only a small handful known like it worldwide.
The quality and detail of the carving on this piece is nothing but the best, typical of Beha. The vines are very delicately done. They wrap over and under each other with amazing detail...two small birds sit on the sides of the clock look alive... but that is not what makes this clock so special.
This clock has a life size cuckoo perched on the top of the clock... He is 12" from beak to tail, and fully automated!

You can see on this piece there is no cuckoo door.The movement in this clock is also unique. It is a three train movement. Time, Strike, and Cuckoo. While other cuckoo clocks blend the cuckoo call and the strike (cuckoo-bong, cuckoo-bong) the separation of trains allows this clock to strike the hour... pause then call the hour with the cuckoo.
This piece will also strike the half and full hour, but the cuckoo only calls the full hour.

If you look at the side view of the clock you can see that there is a large grapefruit size bell located on the top of the clock. This large bell creates a very loud distinct strike.

Last but not least the pipes used in this cuckoo clock are not square, but round. Turned on a lathe these cuckoo pipes produce a very real call.

This Beha has been documented in several horological publications over the years. Its most notable publication is the 2008 Edition of Schwarzwalduhren, by Berthold Schaaf. This is the most authoritative text on Black Forest Clocks.The book is available through any German book seller or

Johann Baptist was not only a quality maker, but a pioneer in Black Forest Horology these unique innovations can be seen in this very special Beha timepiece.


Anonymous said...

Justin, You have some nice Clocks.
Great site. d_costella

d_costella said...

Great collection Justin. I would like to see Gary, Roy, Bonehands,
and some other members do this.
I will find my Clock someday.