Did you know that the very first alarm clock in America was invented by a New Hampshire clock maker named Levi Hutchins in 1787? Levi Hutchins is an unknown man, not many people have heard of him. When he was 26 and got his job as a clock maker, he was much disciplined when it came to being on time. He woke up every morning at four o’clock to go to work, but that was hard. He sometimes woke up late, or sometimes early. And that is where his invention comes in.
He constructed a wood cabinet and put one of his brass clocks in, then rigged the alarm to go off at four o’clock each day, a time that could not be changed. It was 29 inches high (~74 cm) and 14 inches wide (~36 cm), with a pine case that had a mirror at the door. It looked much more like grandfather clock than a modern bedside alarm.
He had no interest in selling his invention; all he cared about was getting to work on time. It’s probably good that Hutchins didn’t dream of a great market for alarm clocks. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that people woke up to the idea of getting out of bed at an exact time every day. As factory jobs proliferated, so did the need to be up and out of the house at a certain time. In 1876, Seth Thomas in Thomaston, Conneticut, designed and patented the first windup alarm clock that could be set for any time. Unfortunately, the snooze button didn’t come along for another century.