Once upon a time, there weren’t any alarm clocks. In fact, there weren’t any clocks.
When Mrs. Joe Neanderthal thought Joe should get up, she banged him over the head with his club. Since there weren’t any clocks, Joe couldn’t even say, “It’s only 5 am!” and go back to sleep. Which was OK since A) Mrs. J. N. was not the type to put up with whining and B) Joe couldn’t count.
Then along came School and Start Times and alarm clocks had to be invented.
The first clocks were used by the ancient Greeks and were made from water falling through gears and levers. This is the origin of the popular phrase: I’m sorry I’m late, there was a drought.
Sundials were an improvement since they weren’t affected by an occasional drought or deluge, but cloud cover (and night) put a damper on time-telling. Which is why bacchanalia tended to last all night (no one could say “I have to be home by 3am” since no one knew when 3am was).
The first mechanical-type clock was during medieval times (the era, not the dinner theater). Clocks told the bell-ringers to ring the bells and the bells told the people to get to church.
Finally in 1787, Levi Hutchins in Concord, NH, invented the first American alarm clock. Why we didn’t just copy the European alarm clock I have no idea. But Levi wanted to get up on time (which for him meant 4am. This ridiculous hour has caused alarm-clock rage through subsequent ages.).
Isn’t it great getting up really early on a non-school day?