Hourglass PNG Transparent Images

Submitted by on Apr 20, 2020

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An hourglass (or sandglass, sand timer, sand clock or egg timer) is a device used to measure the passage of time. It includes two glass bulbs connected vertically by a narrow neck, which allows a controlled flow of a substance (historically sand) from the upper bulb to the lower one. As a rule, the upper and lower bulbs are symmetrical so that the hourglass will measure the same duration regardless of the orientation. The specific measurement time for a given hourglass is determined by factors such as the quantity and coarseness of the particles, the size of the bulb, and the width of the neck.

Representations of an marine sandglass or we simply may call hourglass as a symbol of the passage of time are found in art, in particular on tombstones or other monuments, from antiquity to the present day. The shape of a winged hourglass was used as a literal representation of the well-known Latin epitaph tempus fugit (“time flies”).

There is no trace of the hourglass existing in Europe before the High Middle Ages; the first documented example dates from the 8th century CE, designed by a Frankish monk named Liutprand, who served in the cathedral of Chartres, France. But it was not until the 14th century that the hourglass was commonly seen, the first firm evidence being a representation in the fresco 1338 Allegory of good government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.


The use of the hourglass has been recorded since the 14th century. The documents written on this subject came mainly from the logs of European ships. During the same period, it appeared in other registers and lists of ship stores. The first recorded reference, which can be said with certainty to refer to an marine sandglass date from c. 1345, in a receipt from Thomas de Stetesham, clerk of King La George’s ship, during the reign of Edward III of England; translated from Latin, the receipt says: in 1345:

“The same Thomas declares having paid to Lescluse, in Flanders, twelve glass horologes (” pro xii. Orlogiis vitreous “), the price for each 4½ gross’, in sterling 9s.

Marine sandglasses were very popular onboard ships because they were the most reliable measure of weather at sea. Unlike the clepsydra, the movement of the ship during sailing did not affect the hourglass. The fact that the hourglass also uses granular materials instead of liquids gave him more precise measurements since the clepsydra was subject to condensation inside during temperature changes.

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