What is the history of the measurement

Timing

If we want to know what time it is today, we just look at the clock. That wasn't always the case, of course. The first attempts to measure time with the help of the position of the sun were made 6,000 years ago: The Sumerians stuck a stick in the sand and watched the wandering shadow. With the help of markings in the ground, the Sumerians divided the day into twelve hours - one hour was then as long as two hours today. This could be measured with the help of markings in the ground. The Chinese and Egyptians did the same thing. The disadvantage of sundials is that they don't work in bad weather or at night.

Candles, water and hourglasses

Other methods existed in ancient Greece, for example. Here you stopped the time with a 'water clock'. For example speaking time in court: water dripped from one vessel into another and when the first vessel was empty, speaking time was over. The first hourglasses appeared about 600 years ago. At that time they already looked like our current hourglasses and also worked in exactly the same way. They were used at sea, for example, to determine how long a cabin boy had to keep watch. In England there were candles with markings in the Middle Ages. The distance between two marks burned down every hour. Each candle lasted four hours. So you needed six candles for a whole day.

Too imprecise

These time measurements were all very inaccurate. That did not change until the 13th century: the first mechanical wheel clock was put into operation on a church tower in England. It was driven with weights and had to be wound up over and over again. Just like some mechanical pocket watches that were invented 200 years later and that are still around today. In the 19th century, the first electronically operated clocks were developed that already functioned similarly to our clocks today.

Status: 03/23/2010, 10:15 am