In 1815, Francis Ronalds published the first electric clock powered by dry pile batteries. Alexander Bain, Scottish clockmaker, patented the electric clock in 1840. The electric clock's mainspring is wound either with an electric motor or with an electromagnet and armature. In 1841, he first patented the electromagnetic pendulum. By the end of the nineteenth century, the advent of the dry cell battery made it feasible to use electric power in clocks. Spring or weight driven clocks that use electricity, either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC), to rewind the spring or raise the weight of a mechanical clock would be classified as an electromechanical clock. This classification would also apply to clocks that employ an electrical impulse to propel the pendulum. In electromechanical clocks the electricity serves no time keeping function. These types of clocks were made as individual timepieces but more commonly used in synchronized time installations in schools, businesses, factories, railroads and government facilities as a master clock and slave clocks.
Clocks have different ways of displaying time, connected to their internal clockwork type. Analog clocks usually indicate time using angles. Digital clocks display a numeric representation of time. Two numeric display formats are commonly used on digital clocks: 24-hour notation and 12-hour notation. Most digital clocks use electronic mechanisms and LCD, LED, or VFD displays. For convenience, distance, telephony or blindness, auditory clocks present the time as sounds. There are also clocks for the blind that have displays that can be read by using the sense of touch. Some of these are similar to normal analog displays, but are constructed so the hands can be felt without damaging them. The evolution of the technology of clocks continues today. The study of timekeeping is known as horology.
While some people have a type of internal clock and can wake up around the same time every day, most people need a little extra help in this department. Without an alarm clock, you could sleep through your plans for the day, whether those plans include fun activities with loved ones or getting things done around the house. You might think you can use the built-in alarm on your phone. However, it's too easy to grab your phone from your bedside table and turn off the alarm without really waking up and getting going for the day.
Bolter, David J. Turing's Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C. (1984). ISBN 0-8078-4108-0 pbk. Very good, readable summary of the role of "the clock" in its setting the direction of philosophic movement for the "Western World". Cf. picture on p. 25 showing the verge and foliot. Bolton derived the picture from Macey, p. 20.
“This was a gift for my elderly, cognitively impaired mother. She was very often confused as to which day it was, the time of day, etc. She would show up at appointments on the wrong day, or think it was morning when it was evening. This clock is fantastic! It has made such a difference. Now she always knows what day and time it is. The clock is also very nice-looking. This was an excellent purchase and highly recommended. I can’t say enough good things about it.”
If you're outfitting your new home or apartment, check out more of our great buying guides like the best bar stools, the best light bulbs, the best coffee tables, the best area rugs, the best mattress toppers, the best sheets, the best mattresses, the best pillows, the best clothes hangers, the best cordless vacuum cleaners, the best laundry baskets and hampers, and the best home security cameras you can buy.
Synchronous electric clocks do not have an internal oscillator, but count cycles of the 50 or 60 Hz oscillation of the AC power line, which is synchronized by the utility to a precision oscillator. The counting may be done electronically, usually in clocks with digital displays, or, in analog clocks, the AC may drive a synchronous motor which rotates an exact fraction of a revolution for every cycle of the line voltage, and drives the gear train. Although changes in the grid line frequency due to load variations may cause the clock to temporarily gain or lose several seconds during the course of a day, the total number of cycles per 24 hours is maintained extremely accurately by the utility company, so that the clock keeps time accurately over long periods.
This isn’t for just any old sleeper. This is going to ensure that you get up with every bit of vigor in its little electronic body. Sonic Alert brings us a seriously powerful alarm clock that actually shakes the bed to get you out of it, and comes with a large red LCD screen. You’ll have red flashing in your eyes, the bed rumbling, and a loud sound as the light pulsates to get you up. The world isn’t ending, you’re just getting up for work again. Look alive, tiger!
A clock radio is an alarm clock and radio receiver integrated in one device. The clock may turn on the radio at a designated time to wake the user, and may also include a buzzer. Typically, they are placed on the bedside stand. Some models offer dual alarm and "snooze", a large button on the top that stops the alarm and sets it to ring again a few minutes later. Some clock radios also have a "sleep" timer, which turns the music from radio on for a set amount of time (usually around one hour). This is useful for people who like to fall asleep with the radio on.
Wall clocks are available in a wide array of colors to fit any decor style. Classic black and white, silver or antique metal, and natural, brown, or dark wood choices have timeless appeal. Fun colors like red or turquoise are also available. Most clocks feature a high-contrast face with a white background and black numbers or roman numerals to make seeing the time easier.
“I have searched for a well-designed clock for kids and was so pleased I finally made this purchase. It was definitely pricier than other options, but this one is actually well-designed, usable, and does all the functions well. My daughter loves how cute it is, and the yellow light and green light has allowed us to get more sleep in the mornings, which is priceless. … We don’t use the nap feature or white noise machine all that much, but we like the night-light and wake-up training features. The size is perfect, and it’s not too bright. Plus it has the time on it, which is perfect for my preschooler who is learning about time.”