If you’re looking for a calmer start to your day, you might want to try the Wake-Up Light. It gradually gets you up and out of bed with a colored sunrise simulation and a selection of nature-inspired sounds, so that you can start the day feeling refreshed and energized—as if you had woken up naturally. For anyone who finds it particularly hard to get out of bed when it’s cold and dark out, this alarm clock makes those winter mornings that little bit easier. It also comes with a nighttime dimming feature so that you can make sure you’re getting your best night’s rest.
The apparent position of the Sun in the sky moves over the course of each day, reflecting the rotation of the Earth. Shadows cast by stationary objects move correspondingly, so their positions can be used to indicate the time of day. A sundial shows the time by displaying the position of a shadow on a (usually) flat surface, which has markings that correspond to the hours. Sundials can be horizontal, vertical, or in other orientations. Sundials were widely used in ancient times. With the knowledge of latitude, a well-constructed sundial can measure local solar time with reasonable accuracy, within a minute or two. Sundials continued to be used to monitor the performance of clocks until the modern era.
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.
Some clocks, usually digital ones, include an optical projector that shines a magnified image of the time display onto a screen or onto a surface such as an indoor ceiling or wall. The digits are large enough to be easily read, without using glasses, by persons with moderately imperfect vision, so the clocks are convenient for use in their bedrooms. Usually, the timekeeping circuitry has a battery as a backup source for an uninterrupted power supply to keep the clock on time, while the projection light only works when the unit is connected to an A.C. supply. Completely battery-powered portable versions resembling flashlights are also available.
Its display can be turned off or dimmed, so the large, easy-to-read numbers won’t blind you all night long. If you like to wake up to the radio or to an alarm that gets louder over time, you won’t find those features here (though there is a version with a Bluetooth speaker but still no radio). Still, it does its job well, and there’s a reason this clock is found in lots of hotel rooms.
Spring-driven clocks appeared during the 15th century, although they are often erroneously credited to Nuremberg watchmaker Peter Henlein (or Henle, or Hele) around 1511. The earliest existing spring driven clock is the chamber clock given to Phillip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, around 1430, now in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Spring power presented clockmakers with a new problem: how to keep the clock movement running at a constant rate as the spring ran down. This resulted in the invention of the stackfreed and the fusee in the 15th century, and many other innovations, down to the invention of the modern going barrel in 1760.
“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!”