By Nita Berry Illustrated by B.G. Varma
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Extra resources for The Story of Time
Early man sat in the cool shadow of a leafy tree. He was armed with big hunting sticks and spears, but it was too hot to look for a meal that morning. He was content to lie there, chewing juicy bits of fruit. In a while, he was fast asleep. When he awoke, the sun was right overhead. He blinked hard. It seemed hotter than ever, for the shade had almost disappeared. Indeed, the shadow of the tree had shortened to a mere stump. Moreover, it had moved away from him. Early man grunted irritably and moved into the little, dark patch.
This is the world's biggest sundial. A sundial The sundial was perfected over the centuries to tell the time accurately. In a good sundial, the pointer directly faces the north or south Pole Star. It slants at an angle equal to the latitude of the place it is in. A vertical pointer will show the right time only at one latitude 42 V and in one season. Hour marks are spaced unequally on a flat dial. However, sundials today are built in gardens more as decorative pieces than for their usefulness. It is easy enough to make your own sundial, and to see for yourself how our ancestors measured time.
It is not likely that they could have continued to sleep once their alarm clock went off! Since this had to be set six hours beforehand, Plato probably did not get much sleep himself as he set about adjusting it! Water-clocks were used for a variety of purposes. Orators's speeches were timed by them, so one knew when to tell them to stop! They later became the first clocks with movable parts. , the Greeks and the Romans used the toothed wheel to improve the waterclock. Water dripped into a cylinder and made a floating piston rise as it trickled in.