Special features beyond simply keeping time can be either practical or decorative. Often found in the kitchen or other busy room, some digital clocks can show readings of the indoor or outdoor temperature, display the date, and have the capacity to set an alarm or timer. A swinging pendulum is most commonly found on fancier wood and metal clocks, though some novelty styles also feature a pendulum.
Wallingford's clock had a large astrolabe-type dial, showing the sun, the moon's age, phase, and node, a star map, and possibly the planets. In addition, it had a wheel of fortune and an indicator of the state of the tide at London Bridge. Bells rang every hour, the number of strokes indicating the time. Dondi's clock was a seven-sided construction, 1 metre high, with dials showing the time of day, including minutes, the motions of all the known planets, an automatic calendar of fixed and movable feasts, and an eclipse prediction hand rotating once every 18 years. It is not known how accurate or reliable these clocks would have been. They were probably adjusted manually every day to compensate for errors caused by wear and imprecise manufacture. Water clocks are sometimes still used today, and can be examined in places such as ancient castles and museums. The Salisbury Cathedral clock, built in 1386, is considered to be the world's oldest surviving mechanical clock that strikes the hours.
You can choose from an analog styled clock to a digital one. Our alarm clocks can vary from old, retro, 1950 styled clocks to modern 2013. Depending on your desire, we have wind up alarm clocks, clocks that do or do not tick, or clocks with or without a built in radio. We have clocks for children, clocks that run on battery, or ones that plug directly into an outlet.
Traditional mechanical alarm clocks have one or two bells that ring by means of a mainspring that powers a gear to propel a hammer back and forth between the two bells or between the interior sides of a single bell. In some models, the back encasement of the clock itself acts as the bell. In an electric bell-style alarm clock, the bell is rung by an electromagnetic circuit and armature that turns the circuit on and off repeatedly.
A. Like many items today, the amount you’ll pay for an alarm clock depends on how much technology you want layered onto it. If you desire nothing but a simple analog alarm clock that rouses you with a single tone, you could spend as little as $10. A slightly more sophisticated clock radio might cost $20 or so. If you want a deluxe digital alarm clock with screen projection, Bluetooth capability, MP3 player, or other cool features, you’re looking at a price of anywhere from $40 to $90.
The most accurate mechanical timekeeper is the Shortt pendulum clock; it makes use of the movement described above for electric master clock systems. The Shortt pendulum clock consists of two separate clocks, one of which synchronizes the other. The timekeeping element is a pendulum that swings freely, except that once every half minute it receives an impulse from a gently falling lever. This lever is released by an electrical signal transmitted from its slave clock. After the impulse has been sent, a synchronizing signal is transmitted back to the slave clock that ensures that the impulse to the free pendulum will be released exactly a half minute later than the previous impulse. The pendulum swings in a sealed box in which the air is kept at a constant, low pressure. Shortt clocks in observatories are kept in a room, usually a basement, where the temperature remains nearly constant, and under these conditions they can maintain the correct time to within a few thousandths of a second per day.
“Great alarm clock for the price. Gigantic numbers for my old eyes. Very basic, easy to set, just what I wanted. Alarm is loud even on low [with] an awful sound that would wake the dead. But that sound makes me get right up, so it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. If you want a soft gentle caress to wake you, get something else, but this is a good alarm and easy to use.”