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Many types of alarm clocks have been used over the years. During the 14th century, large, mechanical clocks were first constructed. These clocks generally operated by means of moving cams and gears that caused hammers to strike bells at preset intervals. Most mechanical clocks were driven by weights, and by the 17th century, some of these clocks had built-in alarm mechanisms. But the first small alarm clock was patented by Seth Thomas in 1876. Clock makers in the United States and Germany started manufacturing these wind-up alarm clocks, and they soon became quite popular. Westclox and General Electric later developed electric clocks with snooze alarms, and today, many alarm clocks feature quartz movements, radio-controlled settings, and digital displays.
Mechanical alarm clocks display the time using hour and minute hands rather than a digital display, and they must be manually wound. After winding, they will usually run for 24 to 36 hours. These old-fashioned alarm clocks are not used much anymore because they are inconvenient to wind each day and because they tend to tick loudly. Battery alarm clocks have a battery operated quartz movement and come in various shapes and sizes. They include analog and digital face clocks. Electric style clocks must be plugged in to an electrical outlet, but they also have a battery backup to save the time and alarm settings if a power outage should occur. Atomic alarm clocks are the most accurate because they are automatically set by a region-specific signal. However, for this reason, an atomic alarm clock is best purchased for home or office use, because it may display the wrong hour when traveling outside its preset time zone.
Alarm clocks are not simply limited to waking functions. They can also be found on various other electronic equipment and used as reminders for important appointments and meeting schedules. Many watches have alarm features, as do computers, laptops, email programs, PDAs, iPods, and cell phones. Here on AlarmClocks.us you will find a selection of alarm clock and clock radio suppliers. For information about high tech atomic timepieces and radio controlled clocks, be sure to visit this atomic clock website as well.
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