What are retro alarm clocks?

Retro alarm clocks are timekeeping devices that are designed with a vintage or nostalgic aesthetic, reminiscent of earlier decades, particularly the mid-20th century.

Westclox Baby Bens 1915-1964
Westclox Baby Bens 1915-1964

Getting out of bed in the morning is where everything starts. Many successful people attribute their success to their good habit of rising early in the morning and getting started with the day early on.

Foremost among them are the ancient Greeks who, thanks to them, had also conceived of the idea to get a notification of time, and created the first alarm clock in history.

The original alarm clock ran on water, trickling at a regular rate. When the trapped water arrived at a pre-set level, it would flow down into a vessel. As the compressed air passed through some holes in a siphon, it would then create a loud signal – the alarm clock!

What is retro alarm clock?

Today, when you think of retro alarm clock, a picture of a mechanical clock that chimes at a fixed time may come to mind. The first mechanical alarm clocks can be traced back in the 14th century in Europe.

The original designs were at first large and intended not for home use but for the public. Every hour the clock would strike or chime to inform the locals of the time.

In 17th century, alarm clocks had found their way in many households as incorporated in longcase, mantel, and wall clocks.

Levi Hutchins is the first American who created a mechanical alarm clock for his personal use in 1787. His clock would sound its alarm every 4 AM, the time he wanted to wake up everyday.

In 1847, the French clockmaker, Antoine Redier had effectively able to patent a more practical alarm clock which could be adjusted to go off at a specific time desired by a user.

And in 1876, small size alarm clocks were finally developed by the Seth Thomas Clock Company, who was also granted the patent in the same year.

In the late 1870s, the clock industry saw the growing popularity of the small bedside alarm clocks. US clock companies became the major manufacturers followed only by the German alarm clock makers.

At present, the consumers and most especially the clock collectors would buy retro alarm clocks for their singular quality and style that are reminiscent of things past.

Notable retro alarm clock makers

Elegant retro-style alarm clocks will never be out of fashion. These kinds of vintage alarm clocks will not only make a perfect choice for decorating bedrooms, but also a great help to keep you on time with their classical bell alarm that can surely wake the soundest sleeper.

When buying retro alarm clock, you cannot go wrong purchasing from the most notable clockmakers in the world such as the classic Seth Thomas Clock Company, Westclox, Ansonia, New Haven, and Waterbury.

But among the prominent clockmakers, it was and still is the Westclox retro alarm clocks that remain the most outstanding brand. Westclox introduced several of the most popular retro alarm clocks in history such as the Big Ben, Baby Ben, Chime Alarm, Westclox Moonbeam, and the Drowse.

Popular retro alarm clock collectibles

The first most popular vintage alarm clock is the Westclox Big Ben, which first appeared in 1908. It was followed by the smaller keywound Baby Ben alarm clock in 1915. Both designs have become very popular since then and sought after by many clock collectors.

Sixteen years later, Westclox Chime Alarm was introduced and advertised internationally, dubbing its catchy slogan, “First it whispers, then it shouts!”

In 1949, Westclox Moonbeam was launched and became a craze for many consumers. This kind of vintage alarm clock featured its on and off flash light, then a buzzer sound.

Finally, in 1959, the clockmaker’s first snooze alarm, the Westclox Drowse, made its first appearance in the market and also became in vogue for years.

Over the years, alarm clocks have evolved into numerous types integrated with modern creative features and innovations such as cuckoo clocks and significant numbers of other advertising alarm clocks that promote popular brands.

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.