Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.

Glad You Asked: Why does the alarm clock snooze button give you nine extra minutes, not 10?

  • Updated
  • 0

Hop in the GYA Wayback Machine for a minute (we stole that name from some old cartoon).

"My Fair Lady" opened on Broadway. The first airborne explosion of a hydrogen bomb obliterates Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Rocky Marciano retires as the only undefeated heavyweight champion of the world (49-0). And President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law that places the words "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance.

This all happened in 1956, the same year engineers at Telechron invented the first alarm clock with a snooze function - model number 7H241, known as The Snooz-Alarm.

The interval was originally intended to be 10 minutes. Precision was unimportant, and actually impossible to attain.

Alarm clocks in 1956 had standardized gears. The snooze gear needed to mesh with the teeth of the other gears. Due to the configuration of the gears, a 10-minute snooze cycle was out of the question, so the engineers had to choose between nine minutes or 10-plus minutes.

And we live in America, chock-full of that whole Protestant work ethic, so the engineers went with nine minutes. Don't dare be late for work or you'll end up a miserable failure.

The nine-minute interval carried into the digital age. Some early digital clock designer probably took a look at an old mechanical clock and decided nine minutes was the standard.

Can you help us find some information about the City Haul Lounge?

We received the following question and information from Leonard Hand, owner of the City Haul Lounge. Contact Hand or GYA through the means listed below if you can help.

"We are looking for more information about a longtime resident of Racine who was once the President of the Tavern League of Wisconsin. We know a little bit about his family and would like to find them so as to get more background and perhaps photos. Can you help us?

Theodore G. Van Bree was the second TLW President. Mr. Van Bree died in 1939, leaving behind a wife, Tillie Breeland, and a daughter, Dorothy.

The daughter was possibly adopted from a brother-in-law, as her surname was Breeland. Dorothy married Floyd (Sam) Sievers. They had one daughter, Christine. Christine Sievers Carrion passed away in 2001, leaving behind two daughters - Carissa Carrion Fritsche (husband David), and Nicole Carrion (son Justin, fiance Gordon Chojnacki).

I am hoping to find the family of Dorothy Van Bree Sievers and any of the Van Bree family still living in or around Racine who might be able to help with photos or other information about Theodore Van Bree.

Mr. Van Bree also was involved in roller polo and served on the Racine City Council. His business was called Theodore Van Bree's Tavern, located at 324 South Main St.. After his death, his brother-in-law, Olle Breeland, ran the tavern for several years.

I would appreciate hearing from any of these people or someone who knew the family and can help with our search. Please let them know how to contact me - call me at my tavern, City Haul Lounge, at (262) 633-5544."

What is Glad You Asked?

GYA seeks answers to your questions. Have a question? Call us at (262) 631-1758 or send us an e-mail at


Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alert

Breaking News