Wake me up before you...wait, how did YOU wake up so early?
June 3, 2011 8:26 AM Subscribe
Completely random question: How did people wake up at a certain time before the spread of cheap, accessible clocks?
posted by peachfuzz to society & culture (34 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I rely on my alarm clock to wake me up on normal days, and doubly so when I need to wake up at some earlier-than-usual time to catch a plane or set out on a long drive or do some work or whatever. How did people do this before there were cheap, easy ways of setting an alarm for a certain time?
I realize that most people's lives fell into some sort of routine, and if they went to sleep at the same (early) time every night, they'd naturally wake at the same (early) time every morning. But what about when they had to wake up earlier for some specific event, perhaps earlier than the sunrise, or were up much later than usual for some reason but still needed to get up at the same time? There is some interesting historical information on the wikipedia alarm clock page, but they all seem to be striking clock towers or very specialized and (one presumes) expensive devices. How would a peasant without a clock or watch at all have done this?
I have always been curious about this; I was reskimming Jane Eyre and noticed again that everyone's ability to wake up extra-early whenever they feel like it gives me an uneasy feeling of moral failure. PLUS, Eliza Reed is mentioned as having an "alarum" to wake her early every day; what might this device have been? The first settable wind-up alarm clock apparently wasn't invented until 1876.