klepsydra

Arjen Markus (4 september 2003) I first thought of calling this page "An ancient time measuring device", but I thought it a bit too much. A klepsydra is, indeed, a clock that works (or rather worked) on water. The idea is that due to the form of the vessel that holds the water (a paraboloid) the water flows out at a constant rate. This allowed the ancient Egyptians to measure time in a rough but adequate way.

The script below draws such a device and updates the time every five minutes. It being a crude device, the scale does not allow more accuracy than, say, half an hour. And the vessel needs to be filled from time to time. In this case: at six o'clock in the morning.

The artwork can be improved, but it was fun to work on it :)

Some notes:

To get the picture look a bit more realistic, I followed the advice by Peter Spjuth and made the surface a lighter shade of orange (bisque). The support was suggested by RS and by varying the thickness of the arc and the line you get a really nice appearance.

By using tags and the raise command I can create the various elements in a convenient order (otherwise I would have had to apply multiple do-loops). The raise commands make sure that after all the first steps are done, the bisque surface is raised above the orange body of fluid. The backside of the rings around the vessel is a gray colour to suggest a black line shining through the fluid, so these should be drawn on top (due to lack of transparency in Tk). To avoid the backside interfering with the front (as in an earlier version), I then raise the frontside of these rings.

Another trick: the time is first calculated in hours (and fractions thereof) and then the level is calculated - each level represents a 10 minutes interval. Originally the vessel was drawn with slices representing half an hour, but this gave a very coarse picture (the fluid level jumped with each hour - small mistake on my side). So I wanted a smoother drawing. As I am lazy, I did not want to go and interpolate between the hour or half-hour levels. So by drawing the paraboloid in smaller slices, I neatly solved that problem and you get a smooth outline of the vessel at the same time.

The rest is merely simplified geometry.

Oh, and I did not refine the filling of the bucket: it is done linearly whereas it should be a non-linear function of time. Not too difficult to implement, but I leave that as an exercise :)

``` # klepsydra.tcl --
#    Draw an emptying klepsydra:
#    - a paraboloid bowl filled with an orange fluid
#    - a bucket underneath
#    - on a gray table

# createScene --
#    Create the basic scene (a canvas of 500 pixels heigh and wide)
#
# Arguments:
#    None
# Result:
#    None
# Side effects:
#    The canvas is drawn with the table
#
proc createScene { } {

if { \$::init } {
set ::init 0
canvas .cnv -width 500 -height 500 -bg white
pack   .cnv -fill both
}

#
# The table
#
.cnv create polygon {30 490 420 490 470 410 80 410 30 490} \
-fill gray -outline darkgray
.cnv create polygon {30 490 420 490 420 500 30 500 30 490} \
-fill gray -outline darkgray
.cnv create polygon {420 490 470 410 470 500 420 500 420 490} \
-fill gray -outline darkgray

#
# The rest
#
fillKlepsydra
fillBucket

#
# Refresh after five minutes
#
after [expr {5*60*1000}] {
.cnv delete all
createScene
}
}

# fillKlepsydra --
#    Fill the klepsydra according to the time of day
#
# Arguments:
#    None
# Result:
#    None
# Side effects:
#    The paraboloid is drawn with an orange filling
#
proc fillKlepsydra { } {
global bottom

set nosegments  96  ;# ten-minute intervals over 16 hours
set totheight  320
set bottom     [expr {40+\$totheight}]

#
# Get the time (in hours)
#
set tod [clock format [clock seconds] -format "%H %M"]
scan \$tod "%d %d" h m
set tod [expr {\$h+\$m/60.0}]

if { \$tod < 6 } {
set level 0
} elseif { \$tod > 22 } {
set level \$nosegments
} else {
set level [expr {int(\$nosegments*(\$tod-6)/16.0)}]
}

for { set i 0 } { \$i < \$nosegments } { incr i } {
set height     [expr {\$totheight*(1.0-double(\$i)/\$nosegments)}]
set nextheight [expr {\$totheight*(1.0-double(\$i+1)/\$nosegments)}]
set dh         [expr {2.0*\$height/30.0}]

if { \$i >= \$level } {
.cnv create polygon \
-fill orange -outline orange
}
if { \$i == \$level } {
.cnv create oval  [expr {250-\$rad}] [expr {\$bottom-\$height+\$dh}] \
-outline bisque -fill bisque -tag surface
}
.cnv create line [expr {250+\$rad}]     [expr {\$bottom-\$height}] \
-tag klepsydra

.cnv create line [expr {250-\$rad}]     [expr {\$bottom-\$height}] \
-tag klepsydra
.cnv create line [expr {250+\$rad}]     [expr {\$bottom-\$height}] \
-tag klepsydra

if { \$i%6 == 0 } {
if { \$i > 0 } {
set width 1
if { \$i == 12 } {
set width 5

.cnv create line [expr {250+\$rad}] [expr {\$bottom-\$height}] \
430               [expr {\$bottom-\$height}] \
430               450                      \
-width \$width -fill black
.cnv create oval 420 445 440 455 -fill black
}
.cnv create arc   [expr {250-\$rad}] [expr {\$bottom-\$height+\$dh}] \
-start 180 -extent 180 -width \$width \
-outline black -tag klepsydra -style arc
.cnv create arc   [expr {250-\$rad}] [expr {\$bottom-\$height+\$dh}] \
-start 0 -extent 180 -width \$width \
-outline gray -tag klepsydra_back -style arc
} else {
.cnv create oval  [expr {250-\$rad}] [expr {\$bottom-\$height+\$dh}] \
-outline black -tag klepsydra
}
.cnv create text [expr {230-\$rad}] [expr {\$bottom-\$height}] \
-text "[expr {6+\$i/6}]:00"
}
}
.cnv create text [expr {230-\$nextrad}] [expr {\$bottom-\$nextheight}] \
-text "[expr {6+\$nosegments/6}]:00"

#
# The final touch: a thin jet of fluid ...
#
if { \$level < \$nosegments } {
.cnv create line 250 \$bottom 250 450 -fill orange -width 2 \
-tag jet
}

.cnv raise surface
.cnv raise klepsydra_back
.cnv raise klepsydra
}

# fillBucket --
#    Fill the bucket appropriately
#
# Arguments:
#    None
# Result:
#    None
# Side effects:
#    The canvas is drawn with the table and the outlines of the
#    bowl and bucket.
#
proc fillBucket { } {
global bottom

#
# Get the time (in hours)
#
set tod [clock format [clock seconds] -format "%H %M"]
scan \$tod "%d %d" h m
set tod [expr {\$h+\$m/60.0}]

if { \$tod < 6 } {
set level 0
} elseif { \$tod > 22 } {
set level 45
} else {
set level [expr {int(45*(\$tod-6)/16.0)}]
}

#
# The fluid
#
.cnv create rectangle 100 450 400 [expr {450-\$level}] \
-fill orange -outline orange
.cnv create oval {100 470 400 430} -fill orange
.cnv create oval  100 [expr {450-\$level+20}] \
400 [expr {450-\$level-20}] \
-fill bisque -outline black

#
# The bucket
# Note: arc with coordList does not handle -extent 180!
#
.cnv create line {100 450 100 405} -fill black -tag bucket
.cnv create line {400 450 400 405} -fill black -tag bucket
.cnv create arc   100 470 400 430  -start 180 -extent 180 \
-tag bucket -outline black -style arc
.cnv create arc   100 470 400 430  -start   0 -extent 180 \
-tag bucket -outline darkgray -style arc
.cnv create arc   100 425 400 385  -start  92 -extent 356 \
-tag bucket -outline black -style arc

.cnv coords jet [list 250 \$bottom 250 [expr {450-\$level}]]
.cnv raise jet
}

#
# Main code
#
set ::init 1
createScene```

 Category Graphics Category Application Category Toys