Did servants use alarm clocks?


Ricky B

Member
Apr 22, 2015
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Hi,

With regards to servants in first class (such as maids and valets, etc) who were travelling with their employers, how did they wake up on time to wake up their employers? Were alarm clocks used? Or were these servants woken by the night stewards/stewardesses?

I have always wondered about this, even in the case of manor houses, etc. As 'knocker uppers' surely would not have tapped on the windows of such prestigious premises. And with the wealth of some individuals, having clocks with alarms would not have been a problem for the first rising servants.

If servants did use an alarm on the titanic, and were situated in a close by cabin, would this not disturb other passengers? I'm thinking that maybe the night stewards/stewardesses may have woken the maids/valets first...it seems a bit more logical!
 

Jay Roches

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Apr 14, 2012
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I don’t recall anything concrete on this subject, but I suspect you’re correct in thinking that maids and servants would’ve been awakened by night stewards and stewardesses. The same was probably true of the crew in general — they were awakened by the crew on the previous watch. I’ve read several accounts where crew mention being woken up by others, but none referring to alarm clocks.

There’s a good reason to think that alarm clocks weren’t common: they would’ve disturbed neighbors. The wooden partitions between staterooms, even in First Class, were quite thin. Some passengers slept with their doors open at least partly, for better ventilation. (Incidentally, passengers were not in possession of their stateroom keys; stewards locked and unlocked the doors for them.) So, noise carried very easily, and a servant’s alarm clock could well wake up their employers or others. A night steward(ess), on the other hand, could quietly enter each servant’s unlocked (or unlockable) cabin and wake them up with a gentle-at-first touch.
 

Ricky B

Member
Apr 22, 2015
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Thank you for this insight Athlen, most appreciated! I always assumed that passengers, especially those in first class held onto their cabin key! Do you know the reason for this? How would you go about having your room locked and unlocked? Did every cabin in first class have a bell to summon the bedroom steward? And was this true for second class? I'm also trying to imagine the process for say, wanting to return to your locked room...would it be a case of searching for a steward on the corridor or a trip to the pursers office? Please forgive my many questions! Each time I visit this site, I learn something new :)
 
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