# How did the people that made the first clocks know what time it was?

• To lazy to google

• @achooally they use sun to tell time

• @achooally well ... it was not a pendulum clock but it was based on a different mechanism of balance wheel until pendulum clock was discovered in 1656.

• @achooally and even before mechanism , Sundials were used by ancient egyptians in 1500 Bc which was used in day when sunlight fell on it

• Before clocks, time was measured in “seasonal hours”, which were basically one twelfth (12 comes from the Babylonian culture) of the time that the sun was above the horizon that day (and below the horizon for night hours). So these hours varied in length and weren’t very convenient. When the clock was invented, we needed a more precise way of keeping time, and the standard length hour was introduced. When they decided they wanted smaller standard units of time as well, they looked back to the Babylonian mathematicians for the number 60. The Babylonians loved the number 60, I don’t know why. So they divided hours into 60 minutes, and minutes into 60 seconds.

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• It is very similar to the other questions like What come first egg or hen? , men or women? and so on…

People were dividing the day long before there were clocks.

Dawn, noon and dusk are fairly obvious.
To anyone who doesn't live very near the equator, it is also pretty clear that the length of days isn't constant.

Sumerians and Egyptians both divided the day into either 12 or 24 periods, probably to match the 12 months of the year.

It then took a while to figure out how to figure how the hours changed.

In early systems, there were 12 daylight hours and 12 night time hours and the hours varied in length. (It helps that both those civilizations were fairly near the equator.
The day-length ranges from about 10 to 14 hours.

But lengths of time could be measured in various ways, e..g by burning lengths of rope.

The history of measuring the time is much older than the history of the clock and watch.

If we look into the history of the time measuring devices, these are 4000+ years old e.g. obelisks, water clocks, candle clock, timestick, hourglass, sundial.

These all type of devices were mainly dependent on the natural resources like water, sand or sun light.

Later on, few other mechanism has been made in 3rd century with water-powered escapement mechanism.

Mercury-powered escapement mechanisms in the 10th century,
and then gears and weights in the 11th century.

Finally, foliot or balance wheel timekeeper which became the standard time keeping the device in the 14th century.

• @madlove the biggest sundial is in jaipur called Jantar Mantar .

• Can't answer that specifically. But sundials which are the first known timekeeping mechanisms took the noon sun positioned at an exact right angle - casting the smallest shadow - as the mid point of time (mid day).

• Anyway if you think about it all the clocks are wrong. Say if the time was measured by the movement of sun then length of days change and if they change then the movement of sun relative to earth changes then the clock based on mechanism exept for pendulum will be wrong. Even an atomic clock is wrong. If the need for a clock at first is to tell the start and end of sunlight then atomic clocks fail the purpose

• @achooally time was invented it wasnt discovered, they could have made 9 the smaller digit and 0 the largest possible number, likewise to identify what moment of the day it was they divided a day into 24 parts and assigned each part a number

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