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Western Hourglass History
- Apr 19, 2018 -

The earliest discovered hourglass in the West was around 1100 AD, which was later than the hourglass in China. The hourglass in China is also an ancient instrument for measuring time. The manufacturing principle of hourglass is the same as that of leaking. It measures the time based on the time when quicksand leaks from one container to another. This method of using quicksand instead of water is due to the cold air in northern China's winter and the fact that water is easy to freeze.

The most famous hourglass is the "five hourglass" created by Zhan Xiyuan in 1360. The quicksand flows from the funnel-shaped sand pool to the sand bucket on the side of the initial wheel to drive the initial round, thereby driving the mechanical gears at all levels to rotate. The last stage gear drives the middle wheel that rotates on the horizontal plane. There is a pointer on the center wheel of the middle wheel. The pointer rotates on the instrument disc with a reticle to display the time. This display method is almost identical to the modern clock. The surface structure is exactly the same. In addition, Zhan Xiyuan also skillfully added a mechanical toggle device on the middle wheel to remind the two wooden men who stood on the five-hour hourglass to play drums. Every time or moment, the two wooden people will come out on their own to beat the drum report moment. This hourglass has escaped the auxiliary astronomical instrument and has independently become a mechanical clock structure. Because of the pressure-free limit, hourglasses are more accurate than leaks.


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