Tick Tick: A History of Alarm Clocks

Alarm clocks are a much-needed and sometimes despised invention of modern times. For sleep lovers, the jarring sound of cheap alarm clocks can be really annoying. But without it, some people will cease to function altogether.

It is an indispensable item in our daily life. From fun kids alarm clocks to bedside alarm clocks, there are many variations in the market.

But where did alarm clocks came from? What’s the story behind it?

Let’s dive in.

The history of alarm clocks

The simple function of telling time and waking people in the morning had quite a challenging start. It started with telling time with sundials and towering obelisk, developed by ancient Greeks and Egyptians.

The time was noted with the changing shadow of the sun.

The concept of the alarm clock essentially came from clocks. There are rotating hands every 12 to 24 hours. A lever is designed to fall into the notch by a gear train. This makes the hammer repeatedly hammer the bell.

cheap alarm clocks

The oldest working alarm clock dates back to the 15th century. It was a German wall clock with a bronze bell made in Nuremberg. This particular clock was 19 inches tall with an open framework construction. There are some antique alarm clocks from the 1500s that are still in existence.

During the 1980s, the English book Early English Clocks by Dawson, Drove, and Parkes, Antique Collectors Club, had references of early alarm clocks.

One example is a lantern clock, ca. 1620, that had an alarm set disk on the front of the dial.

The longest clock, ca.1690, is also documented in the book, a beautiful 30-hour hanging alarm designed by Joseph Knibb.

As history states, noticeable English clock makers migrated to the United States during the 18th century with the idea of the alarm clock. Many sites that refer Levi Hutchins of Concord to be the first inventor of the alarm clock in 1787 are incorrect.

The Germans and the English are the ones to precedent the alarm clock first in the world.

During the 1800s, alarm clocks made some significant evolution. Simon Willard of Grafton and Massachusetts invented the alarm time clock called the “lighthouse clock.” It was during the 1830s and 1840s that alarm clocks had wooden works.

Seth Thomas Clock Company was granted the patent for creating small bedside alarm clocks. It was the first of these designs a lot of other companies also started working on the idea of smaller alarm clocks.

By the late 1870s, small alarm clocks gained momentum, and significant U.S clock companies started developing them. Later, German clock companies also followed suit.

Notably, the predecessor of Westclox was founded in 1885 with a more improvised and smarter version of compact alarm clocks.

During the Second World War, the invention of clocks and alarm clocks took a major backseat.

kid's alarm clock

All the factories were mandatorily converted to war zones, and alarm clocks were manufactured only to serve the needs of the war workers, hospital workers, and government officials.

In 1931, Westclox introduced its first Chime Alarm commercially. It was advertised as “first he whispers, then he shouts.” The chime alarm got insanely popular with kid’s alarm clocks.

Then came the Moonbeam from Westclox. Introduced in 1949, this particular alarm clocks a light on and off, followed by a buzzer sound. In the later years, there have been other replications and reproductions of the famous Moonbeam alarm clock.

Alarm Clocks of today

With the latest technology alarm, clocks can be used in so many ways now. There are internet alarm clocks, digital clocks, stopwatches, etc. However, nothing is more effective than a good-quality cheap alarm clock in the morning.

There is a range of high-quality cheap wall clocks, bedside alarm clocks, kids alarm clocks, and so much more at Give & Take.

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