There are two kinds of movements for alarm clocks: the mechanical movement and the quartz battery alarm clock movement. These two kinds are simply limited to the traditional alarm clocks with hands, excluding the steady state LCD and LED alarm clocks.
As early as 250 BC, the Greeks already created an alarm clock prototype in the form of water clocks. They built a water clock with the raising waters keeping time and will eventually hit a mechanical bird. The bird will trigger the whistle and this resembles the modern alarm from our morning wake up clocks. This was the idea behind the concept of a mechanical clock.
The first mechanical alarm clock however waited until 1787 with the invention of Levi Hutchins from Concord, New Hampshire. The invention had a ringing bell alarm which rings exclusively at exactly 4 am and no other time is possible for alarm. Seth E. Thomas later applied for patent on a mechanical win-up alarm clock on October 24, 1876. This time, the clock can be set at any time of the day and the patent number is 183,725.
With a mechanical alarm clock, the mechanism of producing an alarm is through a main spring driving a gear which propels the clacker. This clacker will go back and forth between the two bells to produce the ring alarm. Due to the high degree of craftsmanship required with mechanical alarm clocks, these clocks are now coveted largely for display purposes and with its soon-to-be antique value.
With the demands for highly accurate measurement of time in many applications in technology, the quartz battery powered alarm clock was invented in 1929. The quartz uses a different mechanism form what was used by mechanical clocks as described above. These quartz clocks use an electronic oscillator which is regulated by a quartz crystal. This crystal oscillator drives the synchronous motor, producing a signal with very precise frequency.
The quartz clocks use quartz crystal to regulate the electric oscillator in keeping the time with much greater precision. In fact, the error with this mechanism is just less than one thousandth of a second per day. The quartz clock’s movement can gain or lose fraction of a second due to factors like friction and temperature affecting the crystal. This allows the clocks to be more accurate than the best mechanical clocks around. This more accurate and reliable mechanism is the strength of this type of movement compared to the older mechanical movement. Furthermore, they are inexpensive to manufacture. Thus, mass producing these devices was very easy hence leading the way to our homes now.
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