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 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. 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 Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.