Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 76



Hello Everyone




Every morning l am woken up by my alarm clock.


The alarm goes off and l know it is time for me to get up and turn the lighthouse light off.


Have you ever wondered how people told the time before clocks were invented?


Well, l’ll tell you.


ln ancient times people lived with the rhythms of nature. They roughly knew the time of day from the position of the sun. They worked hard in the fields in the summer and stayed inside more in the winter. They didn’t feel the need to count every minute and second. lt was just more important to get the work on the farm done.


The earliest time pieces were sundials and they have been around for more than 3,000 years. They were used by the Ancient Egyptians. You can still see sun dials in gardens today. As the sun moves round, the shadow it casts from a central post on the sun dial falls on a sort of clock face to show the time.


Of course sundials don’t work when the sun isn’t shining on a very cloudy day – and not at night either!


The Ancient Greeks tried to invent a clock that used dripping water but it wasn’t very accurate. A better invention was the hour glass which relied on trickling sand instead.


You can still see mini-versions of the hour glasses nowadays. They are called traditional egg timers and measure about three minutes which is how long it takes to cook a soft-boiled egg.


People could also use a candle divided into sections. Each section took an hour to melt away. Alternatively a candle was placed in front of a measurer that looked like a ruler and you could tell the time by looking to see where the top of the candle had got to. These were called candle clocks.


The mechanical clockwork clock was invented in 13th century Europe. lt was invented in a monastery. lt told the monks when it was time for prayers and calling them to pray happened several times a day. Many monasteries acquired clocks for this purpose.


People who worked on the land growing crops and looking after farm animals didn’t have to worry about time. They worked from dawn to dusk. The monks’ lives were very different. They had a strict routine and their day was divided into times for reading, eating, talking, etc.


They had to pray eight times a day, seven times in the daylight and once in the night so it was important for them to keep track of time.


Then clocks were put in church towers so that they could call the parishioners to services. lf the people lived too far away to see the clock, they could probably hear the bells that were also put in the tower. These bells were rung before services; and they still are today in some churches.


Over hundreds of years these clocks were improved. Then the pocket watch was invented.


ln 1759 John Harrison, a carpenter from Lincolnshire who had an interest in clocks, produced a clock that was only 5 inches across and proved to work well on ships that lurched about when seas were rough.


lt was very important at that time for sea captains to be able to tell the time so that they could navigate properly and know where they were when they crossed large oceans. The traditional, large clocks couldn’t work properly on a ship that kept rocking from side to side.


ln 1773, after Harrison’s clock had been well tested at sea, he won a prize from the government – £20,000, which was an enormous sum of money in those days (it is quite a lot now too smile1 (2)).


Since then there have been electronic clocks, quartz clocks, digital clocks, projection clocks and atomic clocks. Clocks became more and more accurate and efficient.


An atomic clock won’t lose more than a second in 158 million years!


There are clocks that talk to you and play music and chime. There are clocks that make the sounds of birds or animals on the hour – but only in the light so they won’t disturb you at night.


ln my living room l have a cuckoo clock. A cuckoo comes out of two doors to sound the hour.


Some of the most fascinating clocks are the ones on towers where figures move (near the clock face) when the hours strike – like the famous clock in Prague in the Czech Republic. There is a cockerel that crows and a skeleton that rings a bell and figures of apostles that move past doorways. lt is the only mediaeval clock of its type in the world. lt was built in the 15th century.


Have you ever seen one of those? lf you don’t know what l mean you can see it working on You Tube – look at the ‘Prague Astronomical Clock’.


You might also like to check out the ‘John Parkes clock of about 1770’ and the ‘Black Forest Cuckoo Clock’. l think you will enjoy watching them!


Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


Love and kisses


Salty Sam

heartwww.christina-sinclair.comlighthouse scarf



Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bob: A man walks into a doctor’s surgery and says, “Doctor, doctor. l keep thinking l’m a clock.”


Bill: And the doctor said?


Bob: Stop winding me up!




Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

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Picture Gallery


A sundial on a pedestal


image009 A wall sundial


image011 An hour glass and an egg timer work the same way 


image013 A candle clock – the measurements are on the metal plate behind the candle


image015 A sea clock to use on board a ship


image016 A pocket watch


image018 A projection clock


image020 An atomic clock


image022 Clock in Prague with moving figures (they look like little people)


image024 A sundial in The Privy Garden Hampton Court Palace


image026 On board ship someone always had to be on watch both day and night

Every sailor was given a watch and a half-hour glass measured the time of each watch

The ship’s bell was rung every half and hour to signal the change of watch


image028 A clock from the 1660s

It was placed high on a wall so that there was plenty of room for the chain to be pulled down to raise the weight which was at the other end; it took about 30 hours for the weight to fall driving the mechanism as it did so – someone had to remember to pull the chain every day so that the clock didn’t stop 


image030 A brass ring dial 1820 – 1840 used to calculate longitude of a ship

By the early 19th century it was replaced by marine chronometers


image032 A 1770 quadrant and telescope used for ship navigation


image034 Pocket watches made in London in 1700s


A clock from the 1700s


image038 A musical clock made in 1760


image040 The face is very elaborate


image042 A Victorian wall clock from the 1800s


image044 A late Victorian wall clock


image046 A clock in the street


image048 The famous clock that can be seen from the River Thames at the top of the Savoy Hotel


image050 This beautiful clock has three faces so that people can see it from every direction

There is an owl sitting on top


image052 A bird song clock with an owl top and bottom


image054 The clock face is as big as a London bus and Big Ben strikes the hour

The Elizabeth Tower at the end of The Palace of Westminster







Last weekend, Bill and Bob’s cousin Emily stayed at Auntie Alice’s house because her parents are still decorating her bedroom. The smell of paint is getting a bit tiresome but her parents say that they will soon have everything finished.

Emily was getting bored; most of her toys are still in boxes. Auntie Alice had to think of something she could do.

Emily has been learning to knit. For a long time she could only do plain knitting so Auntie Alice said it was about time she learnt to purl – then she would be able to do just about any type of knitting there is!

Emily has a little doll that she likes to dress up.




Auntie Alice found some odd ends of knitting yarns that she had in her knitting bag and decided to make an outfit for Emily’s doll.

Then she thought you might like to have the pattern in case you would like to make one too.

The pattern should fit any twelve inch high doll that looks like the doll Emily has.

In fact, Auntie Alice got so carried away with the idea that she started to make a whole pile of clothes for Emily’s doll. So the news is that there will be a new series of items for you to make on this blog in the future – twelve inch doll clothes. I hope that you enjoy them.

smile1 (2)



Auntie Alice

The first outfit Auntie Alice made was a smart navy and white jogging suit. So if you have a doll similar to Emily’s and she is into keeping fit at the moment, you can have one too.






Using 3½mm knitting needles and navy dk yarn cast on 15 stitches

Knit 2 rows of 1 x 1 rib

Cast on 2 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows of stocking stitch (19sts)

Knit 34 rows of stocking stitch

Cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows (13sts)

Knit 8 rows of stocking stitch

Knit 4 rows of 1 x 1 rib

Cast off rib-wise quite loosely



Embroider a white stripe up the centre of the outsides of the pants using Swiss darning (46sts)

You can find the centre of your knitting by folding it in half lengthways

Sew the front and back seams of the body then the inside leg seams

Run a length of yarn threaded through a yarn needle along the bottom edges of the ankle cuffs and pull in slightly – fasten off yarn securely

Turn the waistband over





Using 3½mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 18 stitches

Knit 2 rows 1 x 1 rib

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 2 rows of stocking stitch (20sts)

Knit 20 rows of stocking stitch

Cast off 5 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows

On the remaining 10 knit 6 rows of garter stitch



Using 3½mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 10 stitches

Knit 2 rows of 1 x 1 rib

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and knit to end (11sts)

Knit 16 rows of stocking stitch starting with a purl row

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and knit to end (10sts)

Knit 4 rows of garter stitch

Cast off 5 stitches and knit to end

On the remaining 5 stitches knit 6 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



Using 3½mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 10 stitches

Knit 2 rows of 1 x 1 rib

Knit 1 row

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row purl to end (11sts)

Knit 16 rows of stocking stitch starting with a knit row

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row and purl to end (10sts)

Knit 4 rows of purl

Cast off 5 stitches purl to end

On the remaining 5 stitches purl 6 rows

Cast off


Using 3½mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 11 stitches

Knit 2 rows of 1 x 1 rib

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 2 rows of stocking stitch (13sts)

Knit 14 rows of stocking stitch

Cast off


Embroider a stripe onto centre of the outside of the sleeves using Swiss darning in navy yarn (17sts)

Use over-sewing stitch to get the garment to fit and to reduce bulk in the seams

Sew the front together up to the garter stitch panel at the top

Sew the shoulders and shoulder sides of collar together

Sew the tops of the sleeves to the shoulders

Sew the underarm and side seams

Crochet 70 chains into a length of yarn and thread through the bottom of the ribbing.

Tie a bead to each end and pull the ends of the yarn up into the chain using a yarn needle.












Quick Quiz


What do these phrases mean?


  1. as happy as the day is long
  2. at the end of the day
  3. to call it a day
  4. day in, day out
  5. daylight robbery
  6. to have a field day
  7. to live from day to day
  8. to have one of those days
  9. the other day
  10. to save the day 








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lt’s the Weekend!



Quartz used in quartz clocks is a kind of gemstone. There are also plants called living stones or pebble plants and this is how to grow them.

Of course they are not really stones, they are plants. But they look a little bit like stones.

Auntie Alice has some on her kitchen windowsill and the children find them fascinating.

They can be put in separate pots or in a large one together in a group.

They need well-drained compost with a good top-dressing of gravel and then small pebbles put on top of that.

They need to be on a hot, sunny windowsill and need very little water.

They look like stones but burst into beautiful flowers.




Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand


Answers for the quiz last week



When were the following invented??? 

  1. food can
  2. can opener
  3. television
  4. film camera
  5. e-mail
  6. fridge
  7. electric torch
  8. electric light-bulb
  9. quartz clock
  10. cuckoo clock
  11. vacuum flask
  12. toothbrush



  1. 1813
  2. 1858 (yes, it makes you wonder how it took so long)
  3. 1926
  4. 1867
  5. 1971
  6. 1912
  7. 1899
  8. 1879
  9. 1927
  10. 1660
  11. 1892
  12. 1780





Quick Quiz Answers


  1. as happy as the day is long –
  2. at the end of the day –
  3. to call it a day –
  4. day in, day out –
  5. daylight robbery –
  6. to have a field day –
  7. to live from day to day –
  8. to have one of those days –
  9. the other day –
  10. to save the day –


  1. very happy
  2. the final result after everything has been considered
  3. to stop working
  4. every day
  5. the charging of prices that are too high
  6. to be very active or have great success
  7. to live in the present and not consider the future very much
  8. to have a day when everything seems to go wrong
  9. a short time back in the past
  10. to prevent something from going wrong or failing



How time flies!




  • Becky says:

    A really interesting article and the Pictures really bring it to life

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