Tick-tock, tick-tock, goes the clock, ding dong goes the chime of bells to tell us time has gone by. We all go about our various lives going through time, living in time, watching time, and telling time. But we don't pay attention to the art and mechanics and maybe complexities of how watches run to tell us time. From the past, we have evolved from using the sun, candles, shadows and sundials to more accurate timepieces like watches and clocks, all in the effort to get more accurate time.
According to, "The History of Timepieces" by The Jewelers Work Shop, sundials were the first official timepiece. "They are believed to have been in use since the 8th Century BC. Sundials used the position of the sun to tell the time, it consisted of a flat, circular plate with a shadow casting object (gnomon) on it. This shadow or point created by the object was used to tell time". Although this was our first venture into timepieces as humans, it was confusing for time telling if not set up properly. The gnomon for example had to be parallel to the earth's axis of rotation for the sundial to be accurate. Additionally, because it made use of the suns latitude to tell time, it made it hard to tell the time at night. Although, eventually, on bright nights' stars were used on the sundial to tell time, but on darker nights it was just hard.
Going by "Reference History Who Invented the Sundial? "the first form of a sundial was invented by Aristarchus of Samos at around 280 BC. Aristarchus, it is said invented the hemispherical sundial also called a hemicycle. This he did by creating a hemisphere shaped depression into a block of wood, a pointer - as it was called then was placed on one end of the depression and fixed in place. This way when the sun was up, the shadow that was created was in a circular path like our clocks today and used to tell the time. Lines were additionally engraved into the depression to use to keep track of time during the day and seasons".
Around 8, 000 years ago, ancient Egyptians used the positioning of the stars to measure time at night. They devised instruments called merkhet which made use of a bar carved from wood attached to a wooden handle and a plumb line hanging from one end of the bar. It worked by using the plumb line to check the alignment of the stars if they were visible; it used ten stars to signify the ten hours of nighttime. This device was not worldwide renowned though and was mainly used by the ancient Egyptians. It was more useful for telling the time at night than most devices of the time.
According to the article "Timeless Chinese Inventions" on "The Web Chronology Project," the first known mechanical clocks were invented around AD 725 during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) in China by Yi Xing and Liang Lingzan. The main purpose was for signifying the time for certain public events and temple activities, the way this worked was that the clock was set to announce intervals between times of prayer. Sometimes a...