The actual date, when the first clocks were built in the
Black Forest cannot be clearly determined and is still in
the dark. The date of 1640 is often found on follow ups,
although it is by no means historically guaranteed. The
first production period was approximately between 1670 and 1720, which is without any great significance since around
1700 the high region of the Black Forest had to endure war
conflicts between Austria and France.
The actual start was after 1720. Soon after that the clock
trade was widely spread in the high region of the Black
The region of the clock makers in the 18th century stretched
from St. Georgen in the north to Neustadt in the south.
Though the main region of the early clock production was
the area around Furtwangen.
It is gladly assumed that the inherent aptitudes of the
‘forest artists” in connection with a distinct
specialized knowledge in woodwork, indispensable for life
in the mountains, has automatically led to the growing clock
production. However, the decisive and advising involvement
of the early monastery clergy in the Black Forest and their
physical and mathematical capabilities should also be considered.
At the beginning, the Black Forest clocks had a similarity
with the then known simple iron watch- or tower-clocks.
The clockwork consisted of two types of material –
wood and iron wire. Wheel waves made of wood were running
on wooden carrier plates. And the running period was 12
hours at most. As drive served a rock on a string with a
small counter balance. The wooden parts were eventually
replaced with metal ones. There was one exception however,
the cases with wooden carrier plates remained. They are
still characteristic for the newly built fabrication clock
of the 20th century.