Why was the first alarm clock invented

Alarm clock

Antoine Redier was the first to patent a mechanical alarm clock with an adjustable alarm time
Wrist watch with alarm function
VULCAIN Cricket Dual Time GMT Ref. 100105.019L

A clock with a pre-programmable signal

Historical development of the alarm clock

The development of the alarm clock is based on people's need to be awakened from sleep at a specific time or to be reminded of a specific appointment. The first alarm device was probably invented by the Greek philosopher Plato in the 4th century BC. He converted a water clock so that water continuously trickled from one vessel into a second vessel. This then tipped over at a time-dependent filling level and emptied into a third container. The air in it was suddenly compressed and escaped through a pipe valve, the shrill sound of which could wake a sleeping person.

In the case of walking mechanisms, a mechanical gear train is mentioned for the first time around 1340, which could trigger a signal at a certain time. The alarm clock is thus the oldest additional movement to the movement.

Pure alarm clocks, clocks without a time display, designed only for the alarm function, probably already existed in the monasteries.

The Augsburg clockmaker Elias Weckherlin made a clock with an alarm mechanism around 1650, which is in the clock collection of the British Museum. [1] Obviously, that's the name Weckherlin the origin of today's German term Alarm clock forms.

The invention of the first mechanical alarm clock of the industrial age is attributed to Levi Hutchins from Concord, New Hampshire (USA). His first alarm clock, dating from 1787, could only ring at 4 a.m. - that was the time Hutchins got up.

The French inventor Antoine Redier was the first to patent a mechanical alarm clock with an adjustable alarm time in 1847.

Westclox introduced the first carillon alarm in 1931. The alarm clock in question was advertised with the slogan “First he whispers, then he shouts”. In 1949 Westclox introduced the "Moonbeam" model, in which a light first goes on and off and then there is a buzz.

see also climbing wheel escapement

Travel alarm clock

Travel alarm clocks are characterized by their robust construction. The compact design of these watches should be able to withstand all imaginable stresses and strains of a journey. The first travel clocks were also known as car body clocks. If this has a Alarm function they are among the early travel alarm clocks.

Wristband alarm clock

Wristwatches with an alarm function have been the Vulcain Cricket alarm clock since 1947, and the "Minivox" model from Junghans since 1951. Jaeger-LeCoultre created the Memovox line in 1950 and the first automatic wristwatch in 1956.

In 1998 Fortis presented the world's first automatic chronograph with an integrated mechanical alarm function as part of its Official Cosmonauts Chronograph watch line, the design of which was developed by the Zurich watch artist Paul Gerber.


  1. ↑ Watchmakers & Clockmakers of the World; Author: Baillie, G. H .; ISBN 140679113X, page 337