Still tickin'

In my ongoing efforts to get up at a reasonable hour and to make it to shacharit on shabbat morning, I decided to go out out and get myself an old fashioned mechanical alarm clock. (Since it's mechanical I can adjust it on shabbat, and they're damn loud.)

Initially I picked up a new Westclox Piper Twin-Bell, which turned out to be big mistake: mechanical alarm clocks aren't what they used to be — this one had a movement made of plastic which ceased to run consistently after a couple of weeks, getting stuck periodically until I gave it a whack, and running s l o w when it "worked". In its favor, when it didn't get stuck and so managed to go off on time, it was loud indeed — but what good is an alarm clock that you can't rely on? In addition, it ticked away loudly enough that I found it distracting while trying to get to sleep. Thankfully it was cheap — too cheap, in fact, to be worth sending it in under the warranty.

As a replacement, I picked up an old Westclox Baby Ben Style 6 off eBay:
Pic of my Baby Ben
(It's sitting on a 3x5 index card, which gives an idea of the size.)
These were manufactured from 1949–56, and supposedly have one of the best movements Westclox ever made. I'm pretty sure I remember my Dad having one. Sure it's a little banged up (paint chipped, a little rust), but it runs great (and quietly), has a loud alarm, and is made out of actual metal. It's actually quite an ingenious design: instead of a separate bell, the back cover itself functions as the bell. I'm also rather partial to the style of it. All told, it inspires confidence, which is a desirable quality in an alarm clock. I like trusty old things.


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