It's your lucky day!
This ancient Egyptian calendar shows which days are lucky and which are unlucky. Look closely – the unlucky days are the red ones. Here's an example of a good day: 'This is the day on which the gods received their hearts.'
Papyrus calendar from Saqqara, Egypt, around 1225 BC
Drip, drop, tick, tock
This piece of stone was part of an ancient Egyptian water clock. It was bowl-shaped, and was filled at the start of the day. As water dripped out through a hole in the bottom, the markings would show how many hours had passed.
Fragment of a basalt water clock from Egypt, around 320 BC
Catch some rays
This ring sundial uses the sun to tell the time. The dial is set to the right time of year, then the ring is turned until a ray of sun shines through the hole to show the hour. The light moves as the sun's rays slowly change direction through the day.
Ring dial from London, UK, around 1580
When the sun went down people didn’t just give up on keeping time until the morning. They used a star clock called a nocturnal. Looking at the stars through the nocturnal, with its arm pointed correctly, would show the hour.
Nocturnal and tide predictor from London, UK, around 1580
A journey through time and space
This gadget, called an astrolabe, could tell the time and also work out the positions of stars and planets. It has a dog's head to point towards the star Sirius (also known as the Dog Star), and other star pointers in the shape of birds.
The Chaucher astrolabe from England, UK, 1326
Spot the numbers
This very old clock is from a country house at Cassiobury Park in England. It has a weight connected to a wheel that moves other wheels to tick away the time. Can you see the numbers marked in gold on the dial (at the left hand side of the picture)?
Cassiobury Park turret clock from England, UK, around 1610
Much older than your grandfather
This is the sort of clock the mice ran up in Hickory Dickory Dock! It’s called a longcase clock, also known as a grandfather clock. It has a weight hanging down inside the case - it needed winding with a key once a week or it would slow down.
Longcase clock, England, UK, around 1655
Fit for a king
This beautiful clock might once have belonged to the king of Poland. It used a spring instead of a weight to make it work, so it was lighter and could be moved around. It has dials showing the path of the moon and stars, and even works as an alarm clock!
Table clock by Lucas Weydmann, Cracow, Poland, 1648
Ready to roll?
The ball in this clock rolls up and down the table, making it tip back and forth like a seesaw. It takes thirty seconds to travel from one end to the next. Over the course of a year the ball will travel about 2,500 miles – that’s like rolling from England to Egypt!
Rolling ball table clock, England, UK, 1820s
Watches and riches
Soon people learned to make smaller clocks, so they could be worn or carried around. At first watches were just for rich people because they were so expensive. This watch is very valuable – it’s made of solid gold and the lid is set with 92 diamonds.
Gold and enamel cased watch, London, England, around 1650