It’s no surprise that civilizations across the globe have relied on tricks and gadgets to rise and shine. If there’s one constant that has vexed people through the centuries, it’s how hard it is to wake up. Back in the fourth century B.C., Plato used a modified clepsydra—water clock—to wake himself and his students for dawn lectures. In 245 B.C., Ctesibius of Alexandria upgraded the clepsydra into a mechanical version that whistled at a specific time. Then in the eighth century A.D., Chinese engineer Yi Xing rang a decidedly poetic note with his planet, star and time-measuring water wheel clock, which boasted gears that set off puppet shows and gongs. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Five Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 40 Deep Time Funk How to think in millennia. Arts & Culture Issue 39 Half a Notion A reassessment of ambivalence. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Yoga with Adriene The internet’s best friend is—finally—finding her own flow. Arts & Culture Garden Issue 45 Piet Oudolf The Dutch designer bringing life—and death—to traditional gardens. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Thomas MacDonell The conservationist transforming the Highlands.