Ancient alarm clock used by the Egyptians was made by a greek engineer, physicist and mathematician Ctesibius (285–222 BCE) who lived in Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt.
But, Plato (428–348 BCE), a greek philosopher constructed his own version of an alarm clock with vessels much ahead of Ctesibius.
Plato was not very happy with his student at the academy kept oversleeping. So, he added a tube to the filling vessel so it formed a siphon. When the water got high enough to fill the tube and start spilling over, all of it at once was siphoned off into yet another vessel.
This last vessel was mostly enclosed, but it had thin openings, making it whistle like a tea kettle when it filled up quickly. Plato’s invention was successful and people who used his alarm clock woke up on time.
Ctesibius (285–222 BCE) was the Father of Pneumatics, a branch of engineering that makes use of gas or pressurized air.
He is best known for his three inventions – the suction pump, the water clock, and the hydraulis, a musical instrument that is the ancestor of the pipe organ.
The water clock was invented with the purpose of tracking time. Ctesibus made a system of dropping peddles on a gong to make a sound which is the first alarm clock. The dropping peddles were set to end at a specific time.
However, the sound produced from his water clocks was not loud enough to wake up a person.
Later Ctesibius improved it by adding a float with a rack that turned a toothed wheel. He made the water clock make sounds like a whistling bird, bells, puppets, and other gadgets.
Ancient Alarm Clock with Incense in China
In ancient China, candles and sticks of incense that burn down at approximate predictable speeds were also used as to estimate the passage of time and act as ancient alarm clock.
This picture is of an ancient Chinese dragon shaped device was constructed with a sequence of bells tied to a horizontally mounted burning incense.
When the burning incense burnt and broke the threads, the bells fell down at preset interval to give an alarm.
Ancient Alarm Clock of Water (device of of Ctesibius)
Above picture is The Obelisk of Theodosius at Istanbul.
Detail of the pedestal: Theodosius I offers laurels of victory; we can see the water organ of Ctesibius, in the lower right-hand corner.