Time to Wake Up!

Pink alarm clock on pink background
Pink alarm clock on pink background
So how did people wake up for work before alarm clocks were invented anyway?

Yesterday I was researching job trends for a project I’m working on, looking back at pre-industrial revolution times to today. Fascinating stuff, for sure.

And also kind of funny. Although probably not as funny for those poor people in the 1700 and 1800s who were working during those tough years before technology progressed to help out a bit.

Take, for example, the job title called “knocker-upper.”

I know, I know. But let’s just get our heads out of the gutter for a minute here. Can we do that? Okay.

In the industrial era—particularly in England and Ireland—before the invention of the mechanical alarm clock as we know it today, people were hired to wake workers. These knocker-uppers, or human alarm clocks, would use long poles or pea shooters to tap at the windows of those who needed to wake up early for their factory jobs.

And it seemed to do the trick.

Cool. But what I want to know is, who was responsible for waking up the knocker-uppers? Did they also hire someone to knock at their window? Or were the knocker-ups just natural “morning people,” up and at ’em every day at the crack of dawn? Or maybe night owls who stayed awake all hours, ready with their handy pea shooter to wake the rest of the neighbourhood before the sun even began to rise? So many questions, you guys.

But I guess it doesn’t really matter. Technology happened and we’ve moved on from pea shooters. I think I’m good with my alarm clock. You?


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