• No products in the basket.
cart chevron-down close-disc
:

A timely history of the alarm clock.

It’s no surprise that civilizations across the globe have relied on tricks and gadgets to rise and shine. If there’s one constant that has vexed people through the centuries, it’s how hard it is to wake up.

Back in the fourth century B.C., Plato used a modified clepsydra—water clock—to wake himself and his students for dawn lectures. In 245 B.C., Ctesibius of Alexandria upgraded the clepsydra into a mechanical version that whistled at a specific time. Then in the eighth century A.D., Chinese engineer Yi Xing rang a decidedly poetic note with his planet, star and time-measuring water wheel clock, which boasted gears that set off puppet shows and gongs.

  • Words:
    Katie Calautti
  • Photograph:
    Gustav Almestål
  • Stylist:
    Pernilla Löfberg

This story appears in a print issue of Kinfolk. You’re welcome to read three stories from each print issue of Kinfolk for free. To continue reading this story, click here.

If you'd like to enjoy unlimited access to our online archive, subscribe here. If you’re already a subscriber, please sign in.

Alternatively, keep browsing Kinfolk.com to enjoy more free content.

  • Words:
    Katie Calautti
  • Photograph:
    Gustav Almestål
  • Stylist:
    Pernilla Löfberg
Related Stories

Neuroscientist Paul Dudchenko speaks on why we get lost, the distress and thrill of disorientation and how getting lost can improve your skills.