Which Clock Was Not Used in Ancient Times?

Have you ever wondered which clock was not used in ancient times? Well, the answer might surprise you. While many cultures throughout history have developed their own unique methods of timekeeping, one particular type of clock was not used until much later.

The Sundial and Water Clock: Ancient Timekeeping Methods

In ancient times, people used various methods to measure time. The most common methods were the sundial and water clock.

The sundial uses the position of the sun to determine the time of day. It is essentially a flat surface with a raised arm or gnomon that casts a shadow onto the surface. The length and position of this shadow indicate what time it is.

The water clock, on the other hand, uses the flow of water to measure time. It consists of two containers – one that fills with water and another that has markings indicating the passage of time. As water flows from one container to another, it indicates how much time has passed.

The Hourglass: A Medieval Invention

While neither the sundial nor water clock are commonly used today, there is another ancient timekeeping method that is still popular – the hourglass. However, this was not actually used in ancient times but was invented during medieval Europe.

The hourglass consists of two glass bulbs connected by a narrow neck filled with sand or other granular material. When turned upside down, gravity causes the sand to flow from one bulb to another at a constant rate, measuring out a specific amount of time.

The Mechanical Clock: A Renaissance Innovation

So which clock was not used in ancient times? The answer is simple – mechanical clocks were not used until much later in human history. It wasn’t until the Renaissance period that mechanical clocks began to appear in Europe.

These early clocks were powered by weights or springs and used gears and levers to keep track of time. They were much more accurate than previous timekeeping methods and allowed for the development of more precise scientific instruments.


In conclusion, while the sundial, water clock, and hourglass were all used in ancient times, it wasn’t until much later in history that mechanical clocks were invented. These clocks revolutionized timekeeping and played a crucial role in the development of modern science and technology. So next time you check the time on your phone or wristwatch, remember how far we’ve come from the simple methods of ancient times.