Origin of alarm clocks

The concept of alarm clocks, or devices designed to wake people at specific times, has a long history dating back centuries. Here is a brief overview of the origin and evolution of alarm clocks.

Double Bells brothers antique alarm clocks 1920-30's

Double Bells brothers antique alarm clocks 1920-30’s

Alarm clock is not an invention of present times. It was invented as early as the dawn of the human civilization.

One of the earliest forms of alarm clocks can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Water clocks, also known as clepsydrae, were used in Egypt and other ancient societies to measure time. Some of these water clocks had mechanisms that would release a ball or trigger a sound-producing device when a certain level of water was reached, effectively acting as an alarm.

As the civilization evolves, clocks, specifically the alarm clocks, have also an evolution on their own that seems unstoppable.

There were prominent personalities in the past who owned the earliest alarm clocks. Emperors, kings, clergies and intellectuals have their alarm clocks.

One of these people was the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. It was said that he had an antique alarm clock. It was a big water clock which had an alarm that sounded like a water organ.

As time goes by, other innovations of the alarm clock have occurred.

Ancient alarm clocks

Ancient clockmakers had created alarm clocks that came in various shapes and sizes. Different countries from the continents of Europe, Asia, and America had their own distinct alarm clocks.

In the ancient period, some people used sundial (measures the time by the use of the sun), candle clock (sticks of incense used to estimate the time), hourglass (fine sands pour through a small hole at a constant rate) and water clock (determines time by using water).

First mechanical alarm clocks

In the coming years, mechanical clocks were finally invented. The first mechanical alarm clocks that can be traced its roots in the 14th century in Europe. These early alarm clocks had a ring of holes in the clock dial. It was set by putting a pin in the appropriate hole. In the 17th century, alarms were first put in the household mantel, wall, and grandfather clocks.

Contemporary alarm clock designs

As time progresses, the alarm clocks also go with the change. Modernity has now introduced to us the digital alarm clock that features a radio alarm function.

Some has a beeping or buzzing alarm, allowing a sleeping person to be awakened to the music or news radio rather than harsh noise. Most also of today’s alarm clocks offer a snooze button, which is a large button on the top that stops the alarm and sets it to ring again later.

Some alarm clocks also have a “sleep” button, which turns the radio on for a set amount of time (usually around one hour).

Digital clock radios often use a battery backup to maintain the time in the event of a power outage. Without this feature, digital clocks will reset themselves incorrectly (usually to midnight) when power is restored, causing a failure to trigger the alarm.

There are various types of modern alarm clocks. But the most popular are the following: the natural alarm clock, battery alarm clock, vibrating alarm clock, phone alarm clock, loud alarm clock, sunrise alarm clock, sun alarm clock, digital travel alarm clock, and the LED alarm clock.

Retro-style alarm clocks

The vintage alarm clock has a unique sound. An old fashioned alarm clock may have one or two bells that produce a ringing sound. It cannot produce other sounds.

Meanwhile, digital alarm clocks can give off other sounds. While the other aged alarm clocks come in different styles that are also unique compared to the modern ones.

New generation alarm clocks can be placed anywhere inside the household, which can also add some decorative fixtures in your home. Old generation alarm clocks can also be put anywhere.

The best use of a rare old alarm clock is for display and for its value of antiquity. One-of-a-kind antique alarm clock can be used as a fine decoration for one’s home.

Antique alarm clock collecting

Collecting amazing antique alarm clocks is a good exercise. It can also be fun as well as financially rewarding. Antique alarm clocks can grow in value as time goes by.

If you are one of the antique clock collectors, you can surely appreciate the wonder of an antique alarm clock.

It is also very important to have some considerable background of its history and how a particular alarm clock would function.

Knowing also how a clock works makes the collectors enjoy collecting vintage alarm clocks much more.

Has a passion for and specializes in collecting antique clocks. An enthusiast who values and seeks out timepieces from the past, which range from centuries-old tallcase clocks to more recent mid-20th-century mechanical clocks. I help ensure that these valuable artifacts continue to be appreciated and passed down through generations.