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Old timers ..........Sand glasses

How times have changed....... when we boil an egg we will use an electronic timer, phone or watch but this was not always the case. Have a look at the images of the late18th and 19th century antique sand glass timers in image one and two.

These lovely antique sand glasses consisted of an inner glass bulb filled with sand or similar always enclosed in a wooden or metal cage. They were made in various sizes for different requirements but the usual length of time was an hour, half hour or 3-4 minutes.

The larger one from the late 18th century/ early 19th century takes approx 30 minutes to run through. These were often used by the Royal Navy up until 1839 to count in half hours and for marines as a dependable measure of time whilst at sea. It has also been documented that these half hour timers were used in the church pulpit for measuring the parsons sermon to ensure it did not overrun what a good idea.!!!!! Also these antique timers were used for measuring labourers break times!!

The small antique sand glass timer in image two takes approx 3 minutes 30 seconds to run through used mainly as an egg timer these smaller ones began to replace the larger timers as they were more convenient to use.

These are great pieces to collect, I love the wooden antique treen cage ones which come in lots of different sizes and look very attractive together. Quite amazing that these survived without the glass breaking- I guess the protective cage did its job.


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