In this disposable society in which we live, a product is no longer expected to last beyond its warranty period, if that long. Products such as the manual can opener, which really can’t be improved, are rare. Oh, there are a few marvels of engineering and manufacture: the spoon, dental floss, and the cutting board, to name a few. But most products are poorly designed and made.
One of the marvels of the twentieth century is the electric alarm clock. I plug it in, set it, and as long as there is electricity flowing through power lines, it will run forever it seems. I have a no frills model–the Spartus Sonic, model #1108. I have had this clock for twenty years. The ubiquitous red L.E.D. display tells the time. Time is set by manually scrolling through the hours and minutes via the switches on top. A 9v battery can be installed in the bottom of the clock to sound the alarm should the power go out.
Curious about the Spartus Corporation, which is now owned by Salton, Inc., a little research on the web revealed its origins in the nineteenth century. W.L. Gilbert and Company, which began in 1841, became the William L. Gilbert Clock Corporation which manufactured paper mache alarm clocks during WWII. In 1947-1948 the company made the famous KUM-PET dog feeder alarm clock. The corporation was sold to the Spartus Corporation of Louisville, Mississippi in 1964.
The alarm is considerably annoying. What could be more desirable in an alarm? You don’t want it playing “Brahm’s Lullaby.” It has a snooze bar which repeatedly adds nine minutes of bliss to your sleeping time.
It sits in my room, as accurate and humble as the day I wrenched it out of its blister pack. No oiling is needed, a little dusting once in a while keeps it looking new, there is no remote, it contains no radio. It tells the time.