Watchman's rattle

an instrument having at the end of a handle a revolving arm, which, by the action of a strong spring upon cogs, produces, when in motion, a loud, harsh, rattling sound.

See also: Watchman

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
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References in classic literature ?
"It's a useful thing to have in the house in case of fire or thieves," observed Laurie, as a watchman's rattle appeared, amid the laughter of the girls.
After the separate concussions could no longer be noted, the reverberations dwindled to a wild, long-sustained clatter of sounds such as a watchman's rattle produces.
Wegg was a knotty man, and a close-grained, with a face carved out of very hard material, that had just as much play of expression as a watchman's rattle. When he laughed, certain jerks occurred in it, and the rattle sprung.
"The Watchman's Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse" looks to the evolutionary roots of many of the world's problems, claiming that we may write off a problem as a social or political one, there may be roots in our genetic coding preventing us from getting over a hump, leading to stagnant progress.
The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction
"The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction" tries to answer humanity's limits to solving its own problems, saying that its habit of fixing symptoms instead of causes is building up to be quite overwhelming for all of us as a whole.