In the 13th century, Al-Jazari, an engineer from Mesopotamia (lived 1136–1206) who worked for Artuqid king of Diyar-Bakr, Nasir al-Din, made numerous clocks of all shapes and sizes. A book on his work described 50 mechanical devices in 6 categories, including water clocks. The most reputed clocks included the Elephant, Scribe and Castle clocks, all of which have been successfully reconstructed. As well as telling the time, these grand clocks were symbols of status, grandeur and wealth of the Urtuq State.
In addition to radio, recent clock radios have other music sources such as iPod, iPhone, and/or audio CD. When the alarm is triggered, it can play a set radio station or the music from a selected music source to awaken the sleeper. These models usually come with a dock for iPod/iPhone that also charges the device while it is docked. They can play FM/AM radio, iPod/iPhone or CD like a typical music player as well (without being triggered by the alarm function). A few popular models offer "nature sounds" like rain, forest, fire, sea, waterfall etc., in place of the buzzer.
In a clock driven by a weight or a spring, the power is first transmitted by the main, or great, wheel. This engages with a pinion (a gear with a small number of teeth designed to mesh with a larger wheel), whose arbor (a turning rod to which gears are attached) is attached to the second wheel that, in its turn, engages with the next pinion, and so on, down through the train to the escapement. The gear ratios are such that one arbor, usually the second or third, rotates once an hour and can be used to carry the minute hand. A simple 12-to-1 gearing, known as the motion work, gives the necessary step-down ratio to drive the hour hand. The spring or weight is fitted with a mechanism so it can be rewound when necessary, and the arbor carrying the minute hand is provided with a simple slipping clutch that allows the hands to be set to the correct time.
Simple clocks intended mainly for notification were installed in towers, and did not always require faces or hands. They would have announced the canonical hours or intervals between set times of prayer. Canonical hours varied in length as the times of sunrise and sunset shifted. The more sophisticated astronomical clocks would have had moving dials or hands, and would have shown the time in various time systems, including Italian hours, canonical hours, and time as measured by astronomers at the time. Both styles of clock started acquiring extravagant features such as automata.
“I was looking for a small, battery-operated clock with a light for my bedside. I wake often in the middle of the night, and I do not keep my cell phone beside the bed (bad idea, as it is tempting to use it, and that does not help sleep). I had a small battery-operated clock I purchased from Walmart years ago, and it finally broke after being knocked off the bedside table too many times. … So I looked on Amazon, and this is the best replacement I could find. It is slightly larger but does the job. I push the top button and can see the time without waking my partner. Nice little clock for the price, and if I knock it off during the night and break it, it has not broken my budget!”