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Cuckoo Clock Discovery Features Twin Doors With Chirping Birds

Photo by Maureen Zambito This hand-carved German cuckoo clock in the chalet style, includes two birds that announce the time.

After writing about my own cuckoo clock a month or so ago, I received several comments from readers telling me about their own clocks. It seems that cuckoos are treasured by many readers for sentimental reasons.

One of the comments was from a resident of North Wheeling’s Victorian Old Town, Maria McKelvey. I know Maria due to my frequent visits to North Wheeling where my daughter and several friends live.

You may have heard of Maria because of her performance career. She is active on the Towngate stage and also appears in historical re-enactment programs. She moved back to Wheeling in 2017 after relocating to Pocahontas County about 11 years ago.

I stopped to see her clock and was fascinated by her house and her decorating themes. A three-story, brick home, with a fabulous view of the Ohio River, the historic structure is restored and updated for contemporary living.

Maria is an interesting person with a strong love of travel, literature and history. A former teacher (for 33 years), she has a room devoted to American author Louisa May Alcott set in the era of the Civil War, and another one themed after western author Zane Grey, that incorporates themes from early Wheeling during the colonial era.

Also a writer and independent researcher, Maria has another room upstairs devoted to British writer Beatrix Potter, which is an historical figure that she often portrays. She also belongs to the Beatrix Potter Society.

Naturally, I was intrigued by her home and decorating style.

Her cuckoo clock was just as fascinating. The clock was a gift from her uncle who purchased it in Germany in the 1950s, while traveling.

He originally bought it for her grandmother and Maria remembers it from her childhood in the Philadelphia area, where she was born.

He presented it to her by mailing it from California where he lived at the time. It arrived in pieces despite the bubble wrap and she asked our own clock expert Glenn White to reassemble it. (White is located in Antiques on the Market.)

“I couldn’t get over how he fixed it up. He rebuilt the bellows!” she said.

The clock is lovely and includes two birds, a cuckoo and a quail. This was the first time that I recall seeing a German cuckoo with two birds.

The cuckoo pops out on the hour and the quail on the quarter and half hour. Thus, there are two little doors at the top of this hand carved clock.

Decorated with oak leaves, branches and two large woodpeckers, it includes three iron pine cone weights for the purpose of mechanical time

keeping.

Of course it has paper bellows and all the standard German mechanical features that make a cuckoo clock work. Interestingly, Maria had it appraised locally by Tim Luke some years ago at Oglebay.

“He loved it. He saw it after it was restored by Glenn and he said the clock was not made for the export market due to the lack of a mark on the back,” she explained.

Values of cuckoo clocks depend on condition and unusual features but this clock is a perfect addition to Maria’s home. Like so many antiques, it has an interesting story to tell.

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at zambitomaureen@hotmail.com or by writing in care of this newspaper.

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