Who invented the alarm clock?

The clockmaker Levi Hutchins of Concord, New Hampshire, invented an alarm clock in 1787. His alarm clock rang at only one time—4:00 A.M. He invented his device so that he would never sleep past his usual waking time. It was his “firm rule” to awaken before sunrise, whatever the season. But sometimes he slept past that hour, and was distraught the rest of the day. Although he lived to the age of 94, Hutchins never patented or manufactured his clock. He wrote about his clock: “It was the idea of a clock that could sound an alarm that was difficult, not the execution of the idea. It was simplicity itself to arrange for the bell to sound at the predetermined hour.” The French inventor Antoine Redier was the first person to patent an adjustable mechanical alarm clock, in 1847. In 1876, a small mechanical wind-up clock patented in the United States by Seth E. Thomas was the most inspirational of those invented in this era—soon all the major U.S. clockmakers were making small alarm clocks and the German clockmakers soon followed. The electric alarm clock was invented around 1890.


Alarm clocks are a pain when we want to sleep. You can thank eighteenth-century American clockmaker Levi Hutchins for waking you up.


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