Plucked From Obscurity: Inventions to Wake a Sleeper

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

Inventive yet under-publicized devices
by Marina Tsipis, Improbable Research staff

Here are two patented inventions designed to wake sleeping persons.

Stevens’s Water-Spewing Awakener
“Machine for Waking a Sleeper,” US patent 7283427, granted to James Thomas Stevens, October 16, 2007.

The primary object of the invention is to awaken a sleeper by means of a light spray of water as a harmless, tactile stimulus. Another object of the invention is to awaken a sleeper who may not respond to stimulation of his/her other senses, for example, a hearing impaired person....

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, there is disclosed machine for waking a sleeper comprising: water reservoir, pumping means, water lines, nozzle, and timer/activation device. 

Applegate’s Descending Awakener
“Device for Waking Persons From Sleep,” US patent 256265, Samuel S. Applegate, April 11, 1882.

In carrying out my invention I suspend a light frame in such a position that it will hang directly over the head of the sleeper, the suspending-cord being combined with automatic releasing devices, whereby the frame is at the proper time permitted to fall into the sleeper’s face.

In the drawings, A represents the frame, which consists of a central bar, a, having on each side a number of projecting arms, b, the whole being made as light as is consistent with proper strength. From each of the arms b hang a number of cords, d, and to the lower end of each of these cords is secured a small block, e, of light wood, preferably cork....

By a simple connection between the cord B and the key of a self-lighting gas-burner, provision may be made for turning on and lighting the gas in the room at the same time that the sleeper is awakened.

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This article is republished with permission from the September-October 2017 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

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