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.
With the application of the synchronous electric motor to clocks in 1918, domestic electric clocks became popular. A synchronous electric motor runs in step with the frequency of the electric power source, which in most countries alternates at 60 hertz (cycles per second). The electric motor is coupled to a reduction gearing that drives the clock hands at the correct rate.
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.
“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!”
An alarm clock (alarm for short) is a clock that is designed to alert an individual or group of individuals at specified time. The primary function of these clocks is to awaken people from their night's sleep or short naps; they are sometimes used for other reminders as well. Most use sound; some use light or vibration. Some have sensors to identify when a person is in a light stage of sleep, in order to avoid waking someone who is deeply asleep, which causes tiredness, even if the person has had adequate sleep. To stop the sound or light, a button or handle on the clock is pressed; most clocks automatically stop the alarm if left unattended long enough. A classic analog alarm clock has an extra hand or inset dial that is used to specify the time at which to activate the alarm. Alarm clocks are also found on mobile phones, watches, and computers.
Though no longer our first pick of timepiece thanks to the smart phone, this old-fashioned clock still scores points for form. Measuring 6.25'' H x 2.5'' W x 5'' D, this compact clock’s face is encased in a metal case with a brushed nickel finish and convex glass lens, while its faded dial stays in step with vintage styling. This item is battery operated, but does not emit a loud ticking noise, so you can snooze to your heart's content.
“This little beauty works great. I bought it when the alarm on my mobile phone began to intermittently fail me. This little travel clock is beautiful in retro seafoam green and great for travel because its bright color ensures that you will never miss picking it up from your hotel nightstand at checkout. There is a faint, pleasant ticking, the hands glow in the dark, and the nightlight button is bright when needed. The pop-up alarm button is firm and works well though I am learning not to accidentally press it and turn the alarm off when picking up the clock. Overall, a fantastic alarm clock.”
In order to shut off this loud alarm, you have to actually get out of bed and stand on the rug for three seconds. But if you find yourself cheating your alarm by crawling back into bed after those few seconds, you can extend the alarm for up to 30 seconds, ensuring you’ll be much more awake once the blood starts flowing to the other parts of your body.
“Great little dual alarm clock. Super easy to set the two alarms. Easy to use. It has a night light feature with adjustable dimmer, which is great. You can adjust the display completely dark so you don’t see the numbers. Then you can just hit the snooze button when the alarm is not ringing and the display lights up. It’s powered only by 3 AA batteries: no electric cord, no USB, nothing that you need. If you need a fancy alarm clock that sprays water in your face, this is not it.”