Sunagoyomi, the sand calendar. Not an hourglass, but a yearglass, the centre piece of the Nima Sand Museum in Japan. Turn it, and one year later the last of its estimated 629 billion grains of sand will fall (no, I haven’t checked the maths, but that’s the number reported). I mentioned this remarkable sandglass almost six year ago when I was celebrating the first year of this blog, and now it (the sandglass, not the blog) has just made it into the Guiness Book of World Records. From The Japan Times, September 20:
Jumbo Shimane hourglass recognized by Guinness as world’s largest
MATSUE, SHIMANE PREF. – An hourglass at a museum in Shimane Prefecture that measures the duration of a year has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest, the museum said Sunday.
The hourglass, built at the Nima Sand Museum in Oda, is 5.2 meters tall and has a diameter of 1 meter. It began ticking on Jan. 1, 1991, using quartz sand from Yamagata Prefecture. One ton of the sand is designed to fall through the glass container over a year.
The record was published on Sept. 10.
Previously, the world’s largest hourglass in Guinness World Records was 1.06 meters tall with a diameter of 38 cm. It was made by an American.
The recognition came after the publisher of Guinness World Records confirmed the size of the museum’s hourglass and sounded it out about registering the device, a museum official said.
The hourglass, named Sunagoyomi (sand calendar), is housed inside a glassy, pyramid-shaped structure and serves as the museum’s centerpiece. The device is turned upside down once every year to start the count again.
The World Record Academy website reports that:
It is filled with 629,100,000,000 grains of the "singing" Osodani sand, which weigh 1,000,368 g (2,205 lb 6.88 oz). The sand, sifted to ensure that each grain measures an average of 0.11 mm, flows continuously through a nozzle measuring 0.84 mm in diameter.
I think it’s great that not only does Japan have a museum dedicated to sand, but that the world’s biggest sandglass has now been officially recognised – I just can’t understand is why it’s referred to as an “hourglass.”
[Image at the head of this post by David Kawabata, via flickr and creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.]