While the origin of the hourglass is unclear, its history is long and rich. Early versions that used water passing between two vessels are thought to have existed up to 3700 years ago in the Middle East and India, and 6000 years ago in ancient China.
The first hourglass, or sand timer, as we know it is recorded as having been made by a French monk in the 8th century AD. By the 14th century, the hourglass began appearing in European ship inventories. Called a marine sandglass, it was deemed an ideal time measurement device for ocean travel as the motion of the waves didn’t affect it.
While the development of the mechanical clock saw the use of the hourglass wane in the 1500s, it remains an instantly recognisable symbol of the passage of time. “Like the sands through the hourglass, so too are the Days of our Lives”. Those words are scorched into contemporary pop culture’s vocabulary. As is the shape of the hourglass, in the curvy, small-waisted figures of icons like Marilyn Monroe and Kim Kardashian.
The hourglasses in Vintage World Australia’s collection are several steps up from the common kitchen egg timer. Handcrafted from solid brass or wood, these are beautiful, antique style, statement pieces that can be proudly displayed as well as used.