Klaxon #atozchallenge

A Klaxon™ (yes, it’s a trademark) is an “electromagnetic horn or alerting device.” Car horns are a kind of klaxon. They have a distinctive “ahooga” sound (thus saith Wikipedia), which The Blogger’s Best Friend™ tells us was a product of the way the thing worked. Either a human or electric motor turned a cogwheel that hit a riveted-down diaphragm attached to a horn, which amplified the sound and directed it outward.

You see a hand-cranked Klaxon during the opening credits of the TV show Baa Baa Black Sheep (later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron), which ran from 1976-1978 and starred Robert Conrad as Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, USMC.

The Klaxon has been pretty much replaced by electronic alarms, but the “ahooga” sound remains. Here are some samples.

Here’s an air raid siren, also used for tornadoes.

I heard this a lot in my old neighborhood.

And one more…

30 thoughts on “Klaxon #atozchallenge

  1. I loved the TV show Baa Baa Black Sheep. Another show we watched together as a family. I remember Robert Conrad’s battery commercial. Well sort remember … him daring someone to knock the battery off his shoulder. Very Clint Eastwood like but not “go ahead and make my day”.


  2. The sound of the air raid siren always gives me chills. I was born in 1980 in Scotland so I don’t remember it ever being used for real, for wars or tornadoes or anything like that (because we don’t have extreme weather here). But I do remember it being tested occasionally from the church hall in the centre of the village where I lived. I suppose the Cold War was still ongoing in the early 80s and they wanted to make sure it still worked in case the worst came to the worst. To me, it’s just a frightening sound.


    1. Do they still fire a cannon off of Edinburgh Castle every day at 1 PM? We were there about 40 years ago, and fortunately someone told us about it before the first time it happened.

      Since the end of the Cold War, we use the sirens to warn of severe weather (e.g. thunderstorms, tornadoes). They test them at noon on Wednesday, so we know it’s just a test. I’ve been places where they set off the sirens every day at noon, I guess to let everyone know it’s lunchtime?

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      1. They do still set off the canon at 1pm every day! It’s become part of life in Edinburgh I think, so Scottish people don’t give it a second thought but for visitors it must be frightening if they don’t know about it


  3. Dude, I thought I’d dash over here real quick, but it’s getting so late and I can bearly keep my eyes open. I’ll stop by tomorrow though! Have a great night and You did a great job once again my friend.


  4. B-52 crews on nuclear alert responded rapidly to their ‘cocked and loaded’ airplane. I was very familiar with this term in the 70s and 80s. I need to find an onomatopoeia for that sound. I would still feel stress hearing it.


      1. For a car horn. The klaxon we had was loud, obnoxious, and could wake the dead (few slept through it). Maybe more of a AH-OOO, AH-OOA, etc.


  5. Good one! I never think to call them klaxon, just sirens! I like the third one best. A really weird and creepy sounding ones is in Chicago (you can find it on line).
    We used to live where the tornado/emergency siren was on a pole right behind our house. Soooo loud when they did the monthly test. It would really freak our dogs out and get them howling! 🙂


    1. Maybe the dogs were singing along.

      Those are weird sirens. When I was growing up, they were just standard air raid sirens. They used to test them every Tuesday at 10:30 AM. Oh, there was the time when the White Sox won the AL pennant that the fire commissioner, a huge White Sox fan, set them off at 10 at night and scared everyone half to death….


    1. The reruns were called “Black Sheep Squadron.” One of the vintage stations used to air it. A few good actors on that show (Robert Conrad, Simon Oakland, Dana Elcar, Larry Manetti, Red West, Dirk Blocker, John Larroquette…) It was what they called a “dramedy,” a cross between a drama and a comedy. Good show in the days of good TV shows.


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