Fine Early Sand Timer
(aka hourglass)

Likely Northeast, ca. early/mid 19th century. Turned from hardwood, perhaps maple, with red stain or pigment in the wood or over-varnish. Balustre-turned posts with central knops (note the non-uniformity of the knops suggesting the turner “eye balled” them rather than working from a template); the posts morticed into round end-caps.

As expected for an early example, the blown-glass is two separate bulbs, joined at the center by a wrap (this wrap is original). The better examples (like this) were used as a timepieces, using fine-uniform sand that gave a consistent , repeatable flow. Further it stands flat, again for consistency, and is tightly sealed from air and moisture that would have degraded the glass and clump the sand. Above and below the bulbs are conically shaped soft-anchors to hold the bulbs in place. The anchors appear to be made from cotton wadding.

Used in far ranging applications from maritime to timing sermons.

Excellent condition. Note how clear the glass is, evidence of retaining a tight seal. The knops, wrap, and perimeters of the top and base show remnants of an original decorative paper, mostly worn away. A sizeable example at about 7 ½ inches tall. Retains the old collection label of Richard Batzing, former long-time Town Historian of Webster, NY. Provenance: Private New England collection.