All You Need to Know About Hourglass Timers


From the beginning of human civilization, human beings been very curious to scale the time. Before the invention of the modern clock, there have been many processes and many tools to measure the time. Some tools like the sundial or candlesticks were used by human to measure the time more accurately. The hourglass timer was just such a tool to measure the time.

hourglass timer

What is an hourglass timer?

An hourglass timer is a structure where two glass bulbs or glass chambers are vertically connected to each other. The glass chambers are like two bulbs and there is a narrow passage between them to allow the loose materials from the upper one to the lower one.

The “Clepsydra” or the “water clock” was perhaps the initial model. But due to the instability of the water, the sand was used later. So, the hourglass timer is also known as the “sand glass timer”.

hourglass timer

How does an hourglass timer work?

As the name suggests, the hourglass timer had been invented to measure time.

There are one of the glass chambers containing sand and the other empty chamber and the sand flows through a narrow channel. The time that the one chamber takes to empty, is the time that it calculates.

For example, if an hourglass takes an hour to empty its sand to the lower chamber, it means, it has counted an hour.

The hourglass timers are all customized, So different types and sizes of the glass’ can be made with different measures of time.

hourglass timer

The use of hourglass timer

In the ancient time, the hourglass timer was used by the Mariners. But after 1500 when clocks began to appear, the appeal of this timer began to lose. The glass was more used in the kitchens and in the household works.

hourglass timer

The development of hourglass timer

The hourglass timer had a standard size of 1 m. It was made of wood and with finest of round shaped sand.

Over the time materials like brass and bronze were used to make the structure. Actually, there are limitless possibilities to make an hourglass. In the modern era, there can be a 3-minute tiny hourglass and also a giant one, 3 m tall. These mini timers are called egg timers.

hourglass timer

The hourglass timer may have lost its charm but it can be a great thing to decorate homes. Different types of hourglass’ can be collected as a piece of artwork and it can add a unique beauty to the house.



Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons