The first clock invented
When you woke up this morning, did you wake up to a buzzer, some music, a video, or something else [hint, hint]?
Every modern alarm clock has a variety of means to stop slumber. In celebration of all of these options, we decided to do a blog post on the early history of the clock radio.
I presented this to my researcher who instantly jumped on the idea. A few weeks later, she staggered into my office looking very frazzled. Her curly red hair had developed some level of sentience. Frayed nerves bulged under her skin. I think she was wearing the same clothing as when I gave her the assignment and, honestly, it smelled like the same clothing too. She slammed a stack of papers as long as my arm on my desk and said, “History of the clock radio? You know not what you ask!” She then popped something in her mouth and collapsed on my floor.
While she “rested” on my floor, I sifted through her information. (Don’t look at me like that, I checked for a pulse first.) It seems that three companies are connected with the first clock radio and she’d been trying to find an authoritative source that declared the first one. The answer seemed simple to me. I looked at her limp body and said, “Check the Patent Office.”
A weak, “Tried that, ” rose up from her body.
After checking with The US Patent Office, calling corporate GE, calling corporate Emerson, working with three research librarians with the Consumer Electronics Trade Association, a researcher with the The Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame, a researcher with The Radio and Television Museum, and scouring the archives of countless newspapers, she is willing to say that the first clock radio was invented by: the Bulova Clock company, GE, Emerson, unnamed inventor, or Samuel G. Frantz.
The Case for Bulova
Their website states that they invented the first clock radio in 1928. Several jeweler websites also make note of this. We were unable to find any newspaper articles or advertisements in newspapers that confirm this. We were also unable to find any pictures of a clock radio circa 1928.
The Case for GE
An article in the St. Petersburg Times (1952) references GE as “a pioneer” of clock radios. This same article stated that the first clock radio was invented “more than five years ago”. That statement seems to indicate the first clock radio hit in the 1940s. Anything beyond that would have been listed as “more than a decade ago”. Of course, the article could have been poorly written.
The Case for Emerson
The website Jrank and Harvard Business School state that Benjamin Abrams, founder of Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corporation, produced the first clock radio. We’ve been unable to learn a model number, patent number, find any newspaper articles, or find any newspaper advertisements to confirm this.