Corded Twin-Bell or Mechanical Alarm Clock (110-120V Mains power)
August 19, 2020 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone make/sell an alarm clock that runs off of mains power and uses a real mechanical bell(s) to wake the user up?

I'll keep it brief --

Does anyone make/sell an alarm clock that runs off of mains power (ie uses a plug) and uses a real mechanical bell(s) to wake the user up? Must be configured for the US power grid (so Canadian is OK too I suppose). If it uses an AC->DC wall wart that's fine too.

If you know of a vintage beast that fits this description and may be found on eBay, I'd be interested in that too.

I do have an AC -> AA battery eliminator but it's a little... inelegant looking. Not interested in a key/wind-up model either.

posted by dhens to Technology (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'll be watching this thread, I love mechanical bell alarm clocks but I've only had wind-ups. It occurs to me that if you can't find one, you could perhaps build or commission a little platform with an electric motor that winds the wind-up crank once a day and runs off the mains.
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:35 PM on August 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm sure someone can poke holes in this, but if I remember right, there's a fairly difficult engineering problem with these, in that alternating current phase actually drifts a lot more than direct current. I will also be watching this thread.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:54 PM on August 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You might have the best luck eschewing modern clocks entirely. Since quartz movements are so cheap and take so little power, clocks now tend to be built with the cheapest possible of everything else, and batteries are the cheapest power supply to manufacture for. Even “expensive” clocks are mostly $1 movements decorated with plastic.

Try searching for alarm clocks with synchronous movements, which follow the AC mains phase and are no more or less accurate than the power grid. As aspersioncast alluded to, these are reasonably accurate but will need adjusting more often than a quartz movement. They are inherently mains-powered, so you just need one with a bell. Do expect them to hum gently (but not tick).

Since these are mostly from the 50’s or earlier, those without bells will mostly have mechanical buzzers instead. Unfortunately, I think that was the most common option. Supposedly some older Telechron clocks had bells, or housings that ring as bells.
posted by musicinmybrain at 8:30 AM on August 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback, everyone. And musicinmybrain, thanks for that information. Definitely put me down the rabbit hole on eBay and YouTube! It's given me stuff to think about.
posted by dhens at 4:07 PM on August 20, 2020

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