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.
The oldest surviving clock in England is that at Salisbury Cathedral, which dates from 1386. A clock erected at Rouen, France, in 1389 is still extant, and one built for Wells Cathedral in England is preserved in the Science Museum in London. The Salisbury clock strikes the hours, and those of Rouen and Wells also have mechanisms for chiming at the quarter hour. These clocks are large, iron-framed structures driven by falling weights attached to a cord wrapped around a drum and regulated by a mechanism known as a verge (or crown wheel) escapement. Their errors probably were as large as a half hour per day. The first domestic clocks were smaller wall-mounted versions of these large public clocks. They appeared late in the 14th century, and few examples have survived; most of them, extremely austere in design, had no cases or means of protection from dust.
Many alarm clocks have radio receivers that can be set to start playing at specified times, and are known as clock radios. Some alarm clocks can set multiple alarms, a useful feature for couples who have different waking up schedules. A progressive alarm clock, still new in the market, can have different alarms for different times (see Next-Generation Alarms) and even play music of your choice. Most modern televisions, mobile phones and digital watches have alarm clock functions to turn on or make sounds at a specific time.
In mechanical clocks, the power source is typically either a weight suspended from a cord or chain wrapped around a pulley, sprocket or drum; or a spiral spring called a mainspring. Mechanical clocks must be wound periodically, usually by turning a knob or key or by pulling on the free end of the chain, to store energy in the weight or spring to keep the clock running.
If it has the iHome name attached to it, you know it’s going to be flashy. Their Bluetooth color changing clock hits home on all the necessary marks, allowing you to talk and end phone conversations with the touch of a button, as well as the five multiple LED color settings. It isn’t all about waking up in the morning; this alarm clock has you ready to go with a fully charged iPhone, fed sweet, sweet energy while you sleep. The last alarm clock you’ll ever need is staring you right in the face – it’s time to complete your iHome collection in style.

There’s nothing like seeing the time blasted on the wall in sharp red LED display. It gives you the perfect sense of, “Oh crap, I’m going to be late.” Projection alarm clocks are just plain awesome, and it’s especially true in this model. This isn’t just another electric alarm clock—you get advanced SelfSet technology thrown into this bad boy that’s going to correct the time and date for you, so the Daylight Savings Time ghost of Benjamin Franklin doesn’t haunt you.
Inspired by a vintage bicycle wheel, this awesome Oversized Kennan Metal 26.8" Wall Clock lends a touch of industrial chic style to your walls. This factory-chic timekeeper features rusted Arabic numerals, classic black spade hands on a battery-operated rusted gear movement, and gleaming metal wheel spoke accents. Create a factory-chic focal point in your dining room by mounting this piece on the wall over a reclaimed wood sideboard for guests to admire at your next dinner party or add it to...
There’s nothing like seeing the time blasted on the wall in sharp red LED display. It gives you the perfect sense of, “Oh crap, I’m going to be late.” Projection alarm clocks are just plain awesome, and it’s especially true in this model. This isn’t just another electric alarm clock—you get advanced SelfSet technology thrown into this bad boy that’s going to correct the time and date for you, so the Daylight Savings Time ghost of Benjamin Franklin doesn’t haunt you.
Seriously, projection clocks are awesome. Apart from the obvious design perks, you get high-speed USB charging for your phone or tablet overnight. (By the way, we recommend setting multiple alarms no matter what clock you buy, you heavy sleeper, you.) The large LED display of Electrohome EAAC475 is sure to wake you up if the reflection of the projection and the sound doesn’t. You can set this up without worry—power failure doesn’t stand a chance. The lithium-ion battery that’s included in this model acts as a backup power reserve, so you’re never caught with your guard down.
“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.”
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