These mechanical clocks were intended for two main purposes: for signalling and notification (e.g. the timing of services and public events), and for modeling the solar system. The former purpose is administrative, the latter arises naturally given the scholarly interests in astronomy, science, astrology, and how these subjects integrated with the religious philosophy of the time. The astrolabe was used both by astronomers and astrologers, and it was natural to apply a clockwork drive to the rotating plate to produce a working model of the solar system.

There’s a lot of science when it comes to sleeping, and there’s never a short supply of sleep-related tests going on. One of our favorite electronic brands here on Gear Hungry has made the most effective clock (in our humble opinion), and it’s the #8 pick: Philips Wake-Up HF3505. Slow light build mimics the sunrise, and gently pulls you out of a sleep-like trance before hitting you with some serious sound. Between price, effectiveness, and the fact that we didn’t have to chase it around the room (sorry Clocky, we’re not morning people), we absolutely loved this one.


Islamic civilization is credited with further advancing the accuracy of clocks with elaborate engineering. In 797 (or possibly 801), the Abbasid caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid, presented Charlemagne with an Asian Elephant named Abul-Abbas together with a "particularly elaborate example" of a water[12] clock. Pope Sylvester II introduced clocks to northern and western Europe around 1000AD[13]
Slave clocks, used in large institutions and schools from the 1860s to the 1970s, kept time with a pendulum, but were wired to a master clock in the building, and periodically received a signal to synchronize them with the master, often on the hour.[71] Later versions without pendulums were triggered by a pulse from the master clock and certain sequences used to force rapid synchronization following a power failure.
Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve tried to find the nicest-sounding alarm clocks and ended up with picks for the best alarm clock and a voice-controlled alarm clock, we wanted to see what other ways to wake up were out there. So we found the best alarm clocks on Amazon, according to hyperenthusiastic reviewers. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
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