Archimedes water clock
EXHIBITS > The clocks of the ancient Greeks >
The hydraulic clock of Archimedes
(the first clock with tickings in human history)
It was a complex hydraulic clock with many automatically moving objects. It consisted of the central storage container which supplied the water. The water went through a smaller container which ensured the stability of the water level (with a conical valve on a float), leading to the outflow nozzle. The supply of the flow was regulated depending on the date, turning the nozzle on a calibrated semicircular disc (so that the hypsometric difference of the nozzle hole and the level of water were altered, consequently, altering the time duration of the hour on the particular day). On the two columns of its facade, two rings (and two statuettes) indicated the hours that had been covered and the hours which remained respectively. On each hour, the pupils of the human eyes on a mask changed colour and a spherule fell into another container from the automatic opening of a crow's beak, with a bang. Simultaneously, the water fell into a volumetric container which, on the hour, was automatically reversed and two small snakes slid towards the birds on the tree that cried out frightened.