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A Time Line About Time

Updated on November 17, 2011
An old wristwatch
An old wristwatch | Source

The History of Time

While we working stiffs live on what is called “Industrial Time” - time actually has a history at least 30,000 years old and is much different from today.

Time has been told by the sun and the moon, solar years and lunar months. More recently there have been water clocks, swinging weights to tell time and pendulum driven clocks. Pocket watches and wristwatches came much later.

And then there is what we know - industrial time. During the industrial revolution people began working in large factories. It has been written that for the first time in history, people were expected to organize and live their lives according to the time of day. Well, let the rat race begin!

Soon factory owners and merchants were paying for large public clocks to be erected. Many were placed on giant church towers so they could be seen from miles away. It wasn’t long before “punching in” and “punching out” began. These were the clocks installed in factory entrances to record the time when a worker arrived and left.

The following is a time line about time dating from over 30,000 years ago.



circa - 30,000 - We judge daily time by the sun and a monthly cycle is judged by the moon.

c. - 10,000 - We begin using a yearly cycle for farming, based on the sun.

c. - 2800 - Babylonians use sundials.

c. - 2200 - Egyptians use star clocks for telling time at night.

c. - 1600 - The completion of Stonehenge. Stones are place in such a way that the time of the year can be determined by watching where the sun rises or sets.

- Babylonians use a complex calendar which combines a monthly moon cycle and an annual sun cycle.

c. - 1400 - Egyptians use shadow clocks to tell time during the day.

c. - 1000 - Babylonians develop a method for measuring time by using a 24 hours in a day, with 60 minutes per hour and 60 seconds per minute.

c. - 600 - Greeks use clepsydra, a type of water clock, to measure time.

c. - 45 - Julius Caesar, Roman dictator, introduces a new calendar based on the 12 Roman months including a leap year every four years.


723 - A Buddhists monk in China produces a clock driven by water.

1090 - Su Song, a Chinese scientist builds the first accurate mechanical clock.

1386 - Salisbury, England produces the oldest surviving mechanical clock.

1511 - Peter Heinlein, a German clock maker makes the first known pocket watches.

1582 - Pope Gregory XIII removes one leap year each century to create the modern calendar

1583 - Galileo Galilei, an Italian scientist, discovers that a pendulum takes the same amount of time to complete each swing.

1656 - Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch scientist finds a way to link a pendulum to a clock, which produces accurate time-keeping.

1704 - Facio de Dullier, a Swiss watchmaker, first uses tiny jewels in watches.

1773 - John Harrison, an English inventor, produces a clock accurate to a few seconds if it is kept running.

1880 - The British government establishes standard British time, set by scientists at Greenwich.

1914 - Fighting officers in WWI give up pocket watches in favor of wristwatches.

1924 - The ‘time pips’ are first broadcast by the BBC so people can set their watches accurately.

1951 - The first electronic computer with a built-in timekeeping device goes on sale.

1991 - The Hewlett Packard 5071A is considered the world’s most accurate clock. It is said to be accurate to one second every 1.6 million years.

By the 1930s most people living in industrialized societies were well conditioned to living by the clock. It became unthinkable to figure out the time of day judging by how high the sun was in the sky.

Enter the age of technology. Where have all the clocks and watches gone? It seems that now we use cell phones more than ever to tell time. I cannot remember the last time I wore a watch.


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    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      This is definitely what is happening now katdrew - especially with young people. I'm not young and cannot remember the last time I wore a watch - and plus it would annoy me that 20 people in one day would ask the time. For my older friends who still shy away from technology - they all wear watches.

    • profile image

      katdrew 5 years ago

      why cant we all look at cellphones and not bother with watches unless u wear it all the time

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'd say a long time ago.

    • profile image

      time seeker 6 years ago

      when was time discovered?!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks HealthyHanna!

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah


    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      How peaceful that sounds mulberry1. There was a time every home had to have a clock on the kitchen wall - but that seems to be a thing of the past.

      I'm glad now my time is my own, so to speak, and I do not have to watch the clock.

      Thanks for writing!

    • mulberry1 profile image

      mulberry1 7 years ago

      Interesting look at the history of time keeping! I have never worn a watch and....I don't have a cell phone. I must be perpetually behind!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Immartin! I think that's why we get so stressed - we are living so unnaturally - not according to light and dark and seasons but by minutes and hours, to go to work for some one. Artificial light allows us to extend our day after work. It's all planned and measured out for us.

      Ah, the value of freelance writing - we can control some of our time! Yay!

      Thanks for writing!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Tick-tock, our lives trickle away. And we now live more as slaves to time than we ever did before. Thanks for a thought provoking and informative hub.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you jayjay40. Love that avatar!

    • jayjay40 profile image

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Very interesting, a brilliant idea to explain it as a timeline. Well done

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      So true jstankevicz! When I went to a meeting in S. Korea, we were sent off to rest a bit and have a great lunch - but come back in 2 hours. Out of over 100 people - not one of us had a watch - and our U.S. cell phones didn't work in S. Korea. What an annoying bunch of people we became - asking everyone we met for the time.

      With so few people wearing watches here in NYC - I haven't bothered getting batteries because it seems when people see you with a watch they just have to ask you for the time. One day I was asked by 5 people for the time - too much.

      Thanks for commenting! Nice to meet you too!

    • jstankevicz profile image

      jstankevicz 7 years ago from Cave Creek

      Interesting Hub. All the watches have slipped into drawers, most have stopped running, and only come out to be looked at now and then. The computer screen and the cell phone have become our timekeepers because they are everywhere.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you princess-sisi. So nice to meet you and thanks for commenting.

    • princess-sisi profile image

      Hilda 8 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I like the concept. Thanks for visiting hope you stop by again. Happy New Years.

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      ralwus 8 years ago

      Well now. I will have to read that when you post it won't I? Glad to have planted a seed.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You know ralwus, I have a book that talks about railroad time - maybe that will be a hub. Thanks for the idea!

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      Yes. time flies doesn't it? You dint mention the Railroad. They established the time zones here. Or Albert and his Theory of Relativity dealing with time. Cool hub tho'.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      A bunch of us were at a meeting in S. Korea and we had a particular time to return in the afternoon. The problem was our cell phones didn't work overseas and not one of us had a watch - and there were over a hundred of us. It turned into a fun comedy routine.

      Meanwhile, I wonder what I can do with these watches - that all need batteries.

      Thanks for stopping by Steve Orris!

    • Steve Orris profile image

      Steve Orris 8 years ago from NE Ohio

      A watch? What's that?

      Yea, cell phones tell time just fine. If I don't forget it and leave it at home.