The National Science and Technology Museum of Catalonia (mNACTEC) collections now include a clepsydra (or water clock) by the French physicist and artist Bernard Gitton, thanks to a donation by the Sabadell bank.
The water clock is two metres high and comprises a structure of glass tubes serving to regulate and display the flow of the liquid (in this case a specific type of coloured oil), marking the hours and minutes. It tells the time marked from 1 to 11, and so at midnight and midday the hours column is completely empty.
The piece is currently disassembled and will undergo a painstaking process of assembly and restoration by the technical staff of the mNACTEC in order to put it back in working order so that it can tell the time on site at the museum.
A clepsydra, or water clock, is an instrument used to measure the time based on the different levels of the water held in a container as it passes from one vessel to another via a small hole. Such clocks have been used since ancient times, and take their name from the Greek klepsydra. Unlike sundials, clepsydras had the advantage that they could be used at night.15 January 2020