On Time National Museum of American History

Marking Time
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