The first way that people could tell the time was by looking at the sun as it crossed the sky. When the sun was directly overhead in the sky, it was the middle of the day, or noon. When the sun was close to the horizon, it was either early morning (sunrise) or early evening (sunset). Telling the time was not very accurate. Sundial Clocks
The oldest type of clock is a sundial clock, also called a sun clock. They were first used around 3,500 B.C. (about 5,500 years ago). Sundials use the sun to tell the time. The shadow of the sun points to a number on a circular disk that shows you the time. In the big picture below on the right, the shadow created by the sun points to 9, so it is nine o'clock. |[pic] |[pic] | |[pic] | |
Since sundials depend on the sun, they can only be used to tell the time during the day. To learn more about sundials, you can go here.
Around 1400 B.C. (about 3,400 years ago), water clocks were invented in Egypt. The name for a water clock is clepsydra (pronounced KLEP-suh-druh). A water clock was made of two containers of water, one higher than the other. Water traveled from the higher container to the lower container through a tube connecting the containers. The containers had marks showing the water level, and the marks told the time. Water clocks were very popular in Greece, where they were improved many times over the years. Look at the picture below. Water drips from the higher container...