Measuring Time – History of Clocks

We read about the history of measuring time.  Kabir chose to make two types of clocks out of all the different types of clocks we read in history – candle clock and water clock.

Candle Clock

First, Kabir made a mark on a candle for every centimeter.  The candle was 8cm long.

We lighted the candle at 2:00 P.M.  The first two centimeters of the candle burnt in 10 minutes each.  The subsequent centimeters burnt in 20 minutes each.  We realized that this was because of the shape of the candle was much narrower for the first two centimeters than for the subsequent ones.  It took longer than 20 minutes for the last few centimeters of the candle to burn.  We forgot to register exact time for the last few centimeters of the candle.  It took 3 hours and 40 minutes to burn the whole candle.

Conclusion: Assuming all candles have exact same height, we can use candle to measure time.  We will know that it should take little more than about 3 and a half hours for each candle to burn completely.

Water Clock

We marked inside of a tin container in inches.  The container was 6 inches high.


We made a very small hole at the bottom of the container.


We poured in the water up to the rim at about 11:00 A.M.  1 inch of water got out through the hole in three minutes.  The whole container, though, took 21 minutes to get empty.  It should have taken 18 minutes.  This was because the hole was a bit too high, and we didn’t realize that until the water in the very bottom was the only water left and was not coming out.

Conclusion: If we have a standard marked container with a tiny hole at the very bottom, it is possible to tell how much time has passed using this water clock.


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