I read 5 articles in 7 minutes on how alarm clocks were made, where they came from and how the work. Here is my report.
The one thing that is the worst is waking up to an alarm clock. We go through this every morning. It’s a huge bummer, but it’s something that we have done to ourselves.
The first real alarm clock was simply the chicken. That worked out well for us because if the chicken was bad at its job you can just eat it. Chickens have an eternal clock and naturally live outside so it made sense that the first farmers would use it as the best way to wake up. But they used it as a way to wake up before the sun actually was up so they could get chores done before the day actually begun.
Before the chicken was actually domesticated farmers would make sure that their bedrooms faced the east so that the sun would rise into their rooms and they would be woken up by natural sunlight.
To go back to the first actual working alarm clock we can go back to the days of Plato who is credited with one of the first alarm clocks. It didn’t keep actual time but it used water much like a hour glass to estimate the proper amount of time someone needed to sleep. How it worked was a clay pot would drip water into a second pot. The pot had a tube in it and once the water got high enough it would go through the tube. When it went through the tube it made a whistling noise because of air being pushed through the tube. Something science related.
It was important for Plato to get up early because you don’t want to be waking up at noon and start philosophizing. Or maybe he had to keep a schedule for an orgy or something.
The conventional alarm clock was invented in the 1800s so workers wouldn’t be late to their jobs in the factories. It only took one time being late before someone else took your job. It was a conventional clock that you wound up with a key but once your desired time was hit it fell into a groove that set off a death inducing bell. It wasn’t so much the bell that got people awake but the 15 puzzle of turning it off so it wouldn’t go off again 2 seconds after setting it back on the night stand.
Henry Ford made sure that all his employees had alarm clocks because he invented the 9-5 workweek. So he always expected his workers to be on time. Henry Ford also invented having his workers being off on the weekend. So he wanted the alarm clock to be a reminder that when it doesn’t go off you had a little bit of freedom. But not a lot.
Alarm clocks soon came with every clock radio that you bought. It turns out people hated waking up to cold sweat and the clanging bells of servitude. Now people could wake up with their favorite AM radio stations. It helped people ease into the day and to get a song stuck in their head immediately.
Technology started to get a little better and the snooze button was introduced. It was determined by scientists at MIT that when you get at least 6 hours of sleep and are scared to death by an alarm you can sleep for exactly 7 minutes and get the same benefits from sleeping for 6 hours. Not only that but for every time you hit snooze after that you get even a better sleep. So if you hit the snooze a second time you actually get the equivalent of 8 hours of sleep.
In the 21st century the alarm clock migrated over to cell-phones. This proved even more beneficial because now you don’t have to hit the snooze button. You are more willing to wake up right away because you can check out all the social media you want and you are ready to take on the day.
So alarm clocks. They are something else.