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 42 Anna Wiener Anna Wiener was on the path to Silicon Valley success. Then she pivoted. Allyssia Alleyne charts the making of a tech-skeptic. Arts & Culture Issue 42 Influencers Anonymous Instagram content creators answer a short survey about the influencer industry. Arts & Culture Issue 42 Crazy Busy There’s no rest for the aspirational.