How did people wake up for work before alarm clocks?
Bedside clocks have allowed us to keep our lives organised and punctual, making sure we wake up bright and early for work or events. Having an alarm clock on a bedside cabinet makes sure you wake up in plenty of time, avoiding the panic of rushing everywhere. But have you ever wondered how people woke up for work before alarm clocks were invented?
The Industrial Revolution brought more jobs to Britain and Ireland, as well as a more regimented work schedule. This change brought the need for workers to wake up at a specific time for work.
The job of waking up workers fell to the men and women known as ‘Knocker-uppers’, or ‘Knocker-ups’ for short, who encouraged people to wake up by tapping long rods on their bedroom windows. The rod was not everyone’s some would use a peashooter to wake up resting workers. The job role would involve making sure all workers were up, before moving on to the next, and earnt these early-risers a few pence a week.
By the 1920’s bedside clocks found their way into the home and the need for Knocker-up’s diminished. However well-respected knocker-uppers, like Doris Weigand, continued the role well into the 1940’s and 50’s. Doris Weigand worked for a railway company, waking up workforce who were required to get up at the crack of dawn or letting them know they were wanted to cover, at short notice.
The only question we have now is, how did the Knocker-uppers wake up in time for work?
Phalinn Ooi, Flickr. Available under Creative Commons.
Recuerdos de Pandora, Flickr. Available under Creative Commons.