Dorrin K Mace, Horologost

Dorrin K Mace, Horologost
The Clock Man in a pensive moment

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Alarm Clock

The earliest known alarm clocks that didn't use water were created in Nuremberg, Germany in the fifteenth century. The very first was an iron German wall clock with a driving weight that would fall onto a bronze bell. Another early alarm clock was the tall grandfather clock, invented in 1690 by Joseph Knibb. This impressive clock was a 30 hour clock with hanging alarm bells.
     Once these early clockmakers came to the United States in the eighteenth century, the alarm clock came with them. The first American alarm clock was invented in 1787 by Levi Hutchins of Concord, New Hampshire. By all accounts, Levi's alarm clock was an impressive timepiece, but the alarm could only go off at four a.m. It wasn't exactly the most functional alarm clock, but for farmers who worked the fields in the morning, the clock was perfect. The following events marked the progression of alarm clock technology in the United States:
  • In the 1820's, Grafton, Massachusetts inventor Simon Willard created his famous "lighthouse clock" alarm clocks, which evolved into the many wooden and brass mantle and shelf alarm clocks of the early 1800s.
  • In 1876, Seth Thomas patented the very first wind-up, bedside alarm clock which could be set to alarm at any hour.
  • In 1908, Westclox received a patent for the "bell-back" alarm clock, known as the "Big Ben" clock.
  • By 1949, Westclox had invented both the chime alarm and the "Moonbeam," which would flash a light as well as alarm.
  • In 1956, GE-Telechron created the "snooze alarm" that allowed owners to push out the alarm time for five to ten minutes.

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