Neuheausen and Leavenworth - Homes of Nut Crackers

Well! First, I must give a formal description of nut cracker. From common sense, we may define, that a nutcracker is an instrument which is used to crack various type of nuts. This simple definition is enough to introduce 'nutcracker' to the world. More specifically, its a device which works on the Archemedes analysis of lever. The device is quite an ancient device and have a fair use all over the world. For example, the betel lover of sub-continental people use betel nut cracker for cracking betel nuts, see the pix: 


Pix source : World Craft Council

Most of these are functional nut crackers, beside this type, there is decorative nut crackers, the later one is very popular for in western world like Europe and the Americas. This post is all about these decorative nut crackers.

Decorative Nutcrackers

Nutcrackers in the form of wooden carvings of a soldierknightking, or other profession have existed since at least the 15th century. These nutcrackers portray a person with a large mouth which the operator opens by lifting a lever in the back of the figurine. Originally one could insert a nut in the big-toothed mouth, press down and thereby crack the nut. Modern nutcrackers in this style serve mostly for decoration, mainly at Christmas time. The ballet The Nutcracker derives its name from this festive holiday decoration.

This story is about two remarkable places, the places should be recognized for the decorative nut crackers, in other words it can be said the Nut Cracker Heaven of the world; these two nutty places are- 

  1. Neuhausen, in Germany; the home of world's largest nut cracker and nut cracker music box, and 
  2. Leavenworth, Washington, USA, the home of antique nut crackers. 
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Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum





Gorge and Arlene Wagner, two Washington native are passionate nut cracker lover, traveled and accumulated one of the world's largest collection of nut cracker, numbering well over 6000 pieces. 
It all started when Arlene Wagner (a former  ballet teacher) produced the famous Nutcracker Ballet by (E.T.A Hoffmann a German writer), and her husband was the creator of those nut cracker used in that ballet, which makes them passionate about nut cracker. after their home fills up full with these nut crackers, including nutting stone to recent modern wooden nut cracker by Christian Steinbach of Germany, they decided to exhibit their huge collection and the open the museum in 1995. 
The following tube of CBS news is the best illustration of nut crackers "A to Z" and about this remarkable museum; also featuring Glenn. A Crider a.k.a Nut cracker Man from Richmond , Virginia.


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Neuhausen Nut Cracker Museum

Another one is in Germany , the country which his famous for producing decorative nut crackers. It is a famous tourist place like Washington's museum. This museum is a house of 4300 pieces crackers from 28 countries. The museum have some of open exhibition outdoor  to their 'technical' museum. Perhaps the out door of this museum is more famous than the  inner gallerias, because the yard of this museum contains some of the record holder stuff, take look at the following glimpse:



pix : Nut cracker family in the yard of museum

World Largest Nut Cracker

The most attracting facts that brings the tourist for it huge and record-holder 'big buddy- thats my given name' - the largest nut crackers of the world. This one is almost 5.87 meters tall and still and operative one, it can crack coconuts easily.



pix : The largest nut cracker on Earth

Besides, the there is a music box, which is made, base on the E.T.A Hoffmann's Fairy tale the Nutcracker( this fairy tale is the inspiration for Leavenworth, as mentioned earlier) in open yard. Which is claiming to be the largest music box one earth too.


pix: the largest music box

Neuhausen officials provided the technical data about this master music box as followings :
Size 5.01 m in total diameter, weight of the plate: 550 kg,diameter of the plate : 4.55 meters and every individual figure is weighted about 75 to 100 kg.
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Pix sources :
1. largest nut cracker and music box by Klaus Brink from Panoramio
2. Nut cracker family by Trudi from Panoramio

Google Earth View: Just >>Click

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