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Friday, 29 July 2011

Alarm Clock

The word "alarm" started out as the exclamation "to arms!" coming from Italian all' arme! Such alarms, led to one of Shakespeare's choice stage directions "alarums and excursions", found in Henry VI and Richard III. The stage direction meant that all the extras dressed as soldiers were to dash about the stage shouting "To arms!" and generally giving the impression of exciting military action.

Before alarms clocks, there were candle clocks, that when burned, indicated the passage of periods of time. To set an alarm, you pushed a nail into the desired point and the nail would fall and clank on the metal holder.

Leonardo da Vinci invented an alarm clock that woke the sleeper gently by rubbing his feet.

Levi Hutchins of Concord, New Hampshire, came up with an alarm clock in 1787 that only rang at 4 a.m. because that was what time he got up.

Hutchins' wife murdered him one New England morning. The time, according to reports, was 4:05 AM.

Seth Thomas Clock Company was granted a patent in 1876 for a small bedside alarm clock, which many believe was the first clock of this type.

U.S. patent #256,265 was issued for the Block Clock in 1882. It was an alarm clock mounted over the bed that, at a set time, dropped two dozen small wood blocks on the sleeper.

Some people have a "natural alarm clock" allowing them to wake up when they want. This is actually caused by a natural stress hormone.

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