When we trace back the origins of the hourglass, we can’t find conclusive evidence of its existence before the 14th century. Now 700 years later, we’re familiar with seeing sand inside hourglasses, but over the centuries, they’ve also been filled with powdered marble and crushed eggshells. They first found importance aboard ships as aids in measuring distances traveled—an improvement over millennia-old clepsydras, or water clocks. The water clocks could be compromised more easily, even by the condensation produced on humid days. On land, however, use of the hourglass was often more symbolic than functional. While the mechanical clock (invented around the same time) and its intricate inner mechanisms prompted comparison to the movements of the heavenly spheres, the hourglass measured a set period. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Three Buy Now Related Stories 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. Fashion Issue 19 Nick Wakeman Creating a menswear-inspired line for women, Nick Wakeman welcomes the challenges arising from forging new aesthetic territories. Design Issue 19 David Rager David Rager, co-founder of design firm Weekends, shares his tale of LA and Paris and how he makes time for life’s little distractions. Design Issue 19 A Day in the Life: Frida Escobedo With her own firm and scores of global projects in her inventive portfolio, this architect is transforming Mexico City, one artful building at a time. Design Issue 19 In Anxious Anticipation The effects of adrenaline are positively pulse-pounding, but the physical whoosh we feel in our bodies actually starts in our brains. 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.