Wondering what a Clepsydra looks like?

As I was reading chapter three, the author mentioned previous methods of telling time, by ways of sundials, hourglasses and clepsydras. I was aware of the former two methods but had never heard of the latter. Most likely because it is the most ancient man made method of telling time. I was interested in seeing what these clocks looked like and as I began researching them I realized that there are many, many designs of water clocks from all over the world. The earliest known water clocks came from Egypt, China and India, predating 4000 BC ! Water clocks essentially all worked with the same method, by way of either an outflow or later an inflow of water and a measuring device on the inside of the water basin.

Image 1: ancient outflow water clock from 16th century Egypt.

Water drips out of a hole in the bottom of the basin at a consistent speed and 12 markings on the inside of the other basin marked the passing of ‘hours’.

Image 2: Inflow water clock from 19th century Greece

The hour indicator ascends as the water flows in, and a series of gears rotate a cylinder to correspond to the temporal hours. This device is also one of the earliest controlled systems and possibly one of the first ancestors of today’s industrial robot devices.


One thought on “Wondering what a Clepsydra looks like?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s