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German Christmas Gifts - Blog

Fun Facts about wooden German Nutcrackers

Posted by Douglas Gray on

German Nutcracker

One of the fun facts about wooden German Nutcrackers is that it has its origins in the Erzgebirge region of Germany, known as the Ore Mountains just like the German Pyramid does. This is in the south eastern portion of the country near what is now the country of the Czech Republic. The development of the wooden nutcrackers was a form of creating revenue for the miners in this area of the country. The miners could create wood crafts during the long evening hours and supplement their income with selling the comical characters. ChristKindl-Markt has a large collection of German Nutcrackers for you to choose from for your Christmas Holiday giving and decorating.

The wooden nutcrackers that were created in the early years by the Erzgebirge wood carvers were given to children as Christmas presents. It is said in German legend that the possession of a nutcracker in a home will bring good luck to all that live there, and also to the home itself.

Some claim the origins of the nutcracker was not to originally crack open nut shells but to mock local politicians that were not doing their job correctly. The tops of them were in the shapes of people. Resemblance to real people was just a coincidence it is said. The mouths were also used to crack the nuts. This could be by a lever or a screw action device. The saying “a nut is hard to crack” is in reference to the bad politicians of the time since they never listened to the people they were governing.

The largest collection of German Nutcrackers in the world has 4,334 of them in one place. This is a nutcracker museum and is owned by the Loschner Family in the town of Neuhausen, Germany.

Nut crackers made of wood first used a leather strap to force 2 pieces of wood together. 

In the dictionary of the Brothers Grimm is the term Nutcracker. The definition is “often in the form of a misshaped little man, in whose mouth the nut, by means of a lever or screw, is cracked open”. 

Wilhelm Fuchtner is the father of the wooden nutcrackers. With the use of a mechanical lathe he began mass producing the same version of a nutcracker in the year of 1872. He was an old miner from the Ore Mountain area of Germany. His family is carrying on the creating of wooden Nutcrackers, and now the sixth generation Fuchtner is busy creating wooden German Nutcrackers. The Fuchtner family still makes some of the finest Nutcrackers available, and they are highly collectible, and often are signed by one of the Feuchtner family members who are creating these whimsical fellows.

In 2008 the largest known nutcracker was made and put on display in Germany. It stands 33 feet and 1 inch tall and is included in the Guinness World Records Book.

The menacing look on the faces of nutcrackers originates as part of a protest back in the days when kings and war lords ruled the land in Germany. Often, German Nutcrackers are representative of the power people back in the late 1800s. That list would include the King Nutcrackers, Nightwatchmen Nutcrackers and Forest Warden Nutcrackers whose job was to catch the local poachers, which were more often than not, the hungry miners trying to feed his family by hunting on the Kings land. It is believed the frowning look that some Nutcrackers have show the evil the powerful possessed and inflicted on the local inhabitants. Presently, many figurines of the past come to life in the German Nutcracker, such as the Chimney Sweep Nutcracker, who brings good luck to all who have him in their home.

Nutcrackers historically come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Most from Germany are made out of wood, but a few were made from bone and porcelain. Those were for decoration purposes only and can still be seen in many of the museums in Germany today.