Hourglass, How to Choose the Best and Cheap?

November 2, 2021

The hourglass is one of the first creations made by man, in order to quantify time, and as its peculiar name indicates, it was created based on the sand found in any corner. Eventually, over time, scientists have innovated to achieve a more optimal and structured result, so that sand is not used to know the hours of the day, so the hourglass evolved to what it is today we know as a common clock .

However, the above does not mean that these clocks are not used today, despite the fact that they have a very specific and archaic system, and it is that they are a necessary instrument within chemical laboratories, since the time of some reactions are more accurate than you think and hourglasses are the key point to know this number.

What is the hourglass?

At some point in our lives, we have seen what a clock and an hourglass are, so we know that the differences are more than remarkable. However, both are systems that work in a similar and evolutionary way . To begin to define precisely what an hourglass is, it is necessary to define the clock –in a general way-, as a device that allows us to know the hours, minutes and seconds of a specific day.

On the other hand, there is the fact of knowing what sand is, which is just that, sand: tiny particles that are usually obtained after the rocks begin to degrade. They are available anywhere in the world and are very useful in large situations. If we have to combine both definitions, we have to understand that from the specific handling of the sand, it is possible to quantify the time.

However, this works in a specific and punctual way, since it produces measurements of specific and short times , basing its process on the force of gravity. Its shape is very peculiar since it combines two bases that come together in a highly narrow tube through which only a grain of sand passes, and just when the first one falls, time begins to be measured.

Hourglass Features

The specifications of the hourglass have allowed despite being an instrument created in previous decades and then has evolved, continue to be used in a professional, artistic or social way. Its main characteristics are the following:

  • It makes use of two capsule-shaped structures that are divided into one empty and the other filled with the sand, so that when one is emptied, the other will be complete. To achieve this, the watch must be turned on a regular basis at the end of the process.
  • It has a base that can be created in different materials, colors and sizes, so it tends to show different models as a result of this.
  • Not just any type of sand works for these watches: it must be completely fine, clean and without other elements so that obstacles are avoided when carrying out the procedure.
  • The duration of the initial procedure will depend on the size of the clock and the amount of sand it contains.

Sometimes, the sand comes in bright colors to be used these clocks in the decorative field.

What is the hourglass for?

The hourglass, as we have mentioned previously, has been created in order to measure time in short periods, so that the same small hourglass can not measure 24 hours a day , so before to acquire one of them, it is necessary to know the time that it is able to quantify. It is generally capable of measuring up to five minutes, this being the most common time. At other times they manage to reach up to a time span of one hour, depending on manufacturing needs.

The above refers to the fact that there are hourglasses that are dedicated to measuring time in specific situations, especially within laboratories to calculate the duration of a procedure.

How does the hourglass work?

The mode of operation of hourglasses is quite basic, especially since it is mechanical. This is because it always works the same way, measuring time in short periods of time, especially minutes. It has two triangular-shaped structures that meet in the center and together form a small, very fine tube that prevents more than two grains of sand, or more, from passing through it at the same time.

For this to work, the sand must be homogeneous, without lumps of any kind and very fine , so that the procedure is always the same at all times. In the case of laboratory hourglasses, these generally operate for just a few minutes, starting with one minute and ending with five.

For the hourglass to work, it needs the force of gravity to help the sand move downward, until its time is up. Then, if you want to start another measurement, you just have to turn the clock and it will automatically start another cycle.

What is the hourglass used for?

The hourglass is an instrument that over the years has been used for various situations that today have been changing. In the beginning, scientists used it to measure time in special fields, or individuals entrusted time to them. Today, it continues to function in the same way, including some more current and evolved uses.

Although they are currently used within the scientific field since they are necessary for some laboratory procedures, they are highly sought after for recreational, anti-stress and decorative purposes, since they are taken as evolved relics.

To be more specific, below we talk about the main uses of the hourglass :

  • In laboratories of any kind, they tend to be used in order to know the exact reaction time of some components, elements or others.
  • They adorn any table, living room or bedroom since many of these clocks have bright colors and special sizes.
  • They are used in board games and other styles to determine the time of action.
  • In some kitchens they tend to be used to check the cooking or preparation time of any special dish.

And on any other particular occasion in which someone wanted to calculate the time with these peculiar instruments.

Types of hourglasses

Although they basically all retain the same style in terms of operation, hourglasses are usually classified according to some special characteristics.

To better understand what we are talking about, here are the main types of hourglasses that currently exist:

Glass hourglass.

As its name lets us know, this type of hourglass is one that is made of glass, usually completely transparent or in very light tones that allow the sand to be seen clearly.

Plastic hourglass.

These are the types of hourglasses that are usually used for recreational purposes, especially with children, since the plastic is resistant and does not usually break easily as in the case of the previous model.

Wooden hourglass.

If we have to compare it with previous models, the wooden hourglass is older and was one of the first to be created. They are usually resistant but little used today.

Liquid hourglass.

Although we have mentioned that it basically uses sand inside, this type of watch is a variable that replaces the sand with specific liquids that do not go down, but rise thanks to other laws of physics.

Brass hourglass.

Brass is a resistant material although not very attractive since it resembles metal. However, it is usually a very obtained model for decorative purposes.

Magnetic hourglass.

Finally, there are the hourglasses that have magnets inside that generate iron filings to be transported through the structure. On this occasion the sand is also replaced by another material.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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