What Were the Different Types of Clocks Used in Ancient Times?

Clocks have been an essential part of human life for thousands of years. The ancient times saw the emergence of various types of clocks, each with its unique design and functionality. Here, we will discuss some of the most significant types of clocks that were used in ancient times.


One of the earliest and most straightforward types of timekeeping devices was the sundial. Sundials were used as early as 1500 BC in Ancient Egypt and Babylon.

They were simple devices that used the sun’s position to tell time. The sundial consisted of a vertical stick known as a gnomon, which cast a shadow onto a flat surface marked with hour lines.

Water Clocks

Water clocks, or clepsydras, were another type of clock that was widely used in ancient times. These clocks worked by measuring the flow of water from one container to another. Water clocks were first used by the Egyptians around 1500 BC but were later improved by the Greeks and Romans.

Candle Clocks

Candle clocks were also a popular type of clock in ancient times. These clocks worked by marking time based on how long it took for a candle to burn down to a specific point. Candle clocks were widely used in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.

Hourglass Clocks

Hourglass clocks, also known as sandglasses or sand timers, have been used since ancient times to measure intervals of time. They consist of two glass bulbs connected by a narrow tube through which sand flows from one bulb to another at a constant rate.

Mechanical Clocks

The first mechanical clock was invented in Europe during the 14th century. These early mechanical clocks consisted of gears and weights that regulated their movement and kept time accurately. Mechanical clocks soon became popular throughout Europe and were used in churches and public places.

  • In conclusion, clocks have been an essential part of human civilization for thousands of years. From the simple sundial to the sophisticated mechanical clock, clocks have evolved over time to become more accurate and reliable. Today, we can enjoy the benefits of modern timekeeping devices, thanks to the ingenuity and creativity of our ancestors.