On Time National Museum of American History

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  1700–1820
Marking Time
 
  1820–1880
Synchronizing Time
  Alarm Clock Blues
  Time Discipline
  Time Zones
  Time Machines
 
 

Synchronizing Time 1880–1920

The country struggled to adjust to clocks set to a national standard time.


Alarm Clock Blues

 
Sheet music
 
Sheet music, 1921
Courtesy of NMAH Archives Center, DeVincent Collection
People awoke not with the rising of the sun, but with the rude, mechanical jangling of an alarm clock at their bedsides. The clock, rather than the sun or any rhythms of nature or body, determined the patterns of life and work. People traveled to and from jobs and school, ate their meals, and went to bed in accordance with what the clock said.


 
Smithsonian National Museum of American History