Some alarming clocks

These days I’m an alarm-on-my-phone type of person. But as a geriatric Millennial, straddling the gulf between the analog and the digital, there was a time when I had a dedicated device to get me out of bed. Shocking, but true!

Alarm clock technology is old as heck, so we as a society have centuries of experience with turning off the alarm and going back to sleep. Here is a sampling of the cruelties that people have inflicted on themselves in the interest of getting to work on time.

The first (and oldest) of the bunch is the “Device for waking persons from sleep”: https://patents.google.com/patent/US256265A/

USP 256,265, FIG. 1
Just don’t sit up too quickly.

Per the patent, “Ordinary bell or rattle alarms are not at all times effective for their intended purpose, as a person in time becomes so accustomed to the noise that sleep is not disturbed when the alarm is sounded. The main aim of my invention is provide a device which will not be liable to this objection.” USP 256,265, p. 1, lns 22-28.

Of course, such a thing would wake everyone in the room, not just the person who has elected to embrace madness. That’s why we have things like the “silent morning alarm”: https://patents.google.com/patent/US7173881B1

USP 7,173,881, FIG. 1

I’ll be honest, I’m sharing this one for the art. It’s framed like a Family Circus comic that focuses on adult Jeffy’s existential despair.

“…if you wake up early enough, for at least a little while,
you don’t have to hide the pain!”

But let’s say audible alarms don’t work on you, and yet for some reason you don’t want to spare your partner the suffering you chose for yourself. How about the “machine for waking a sleeper”: https://patents.google.com/patent/US7283427B1

USP 7,283,427, FIG. 1
That’ll do the job…

Now, this is billed as being a solution for the hearing impaired. It looks like the inventor made a serious run at commercializing the “MistAlert,” forming a company and putting together this promotional video.

I can imagine a use for it in the event of an emergency, like a fire, but I don’t expect they found much of a market for alarm clocks that spray you in the face every morning. Their website isn’t accessible anymore, and archive.org suggests the last activity was in 2015. But hey, their claim is pretty broad, and they have another four years before the patent expires. They could still pull it off!

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