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To see a World in a Grain of Sand

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Published on Jul 9, 2015

A traditional sand timer has a simple function - it is used to measure a specific period of time. However in Tim's amazing toy collection, sand timers appear in a number of guises.

One of Tim's most puzzling toys is a sand timer that floats inside a Perspex tube filled with a clear liquid. When the tube is turned upside down, instead of floating back to the surface, the sand timer stays at the bottom of the tube. However after a certain interval of time, it then floats back up o the surface.

Sand timers form the mechanism inside a couple of toppling toys, and a joke item that tells men how long they should do the housework for. (Not long!)

When the grains of sand are metal particles, and there is a magnet in the base, the grains fall and form fantastic shapes; and a sand timer can also form the basis of a secret opening box.

Finally, a sand timer that works upside down, since the sand grains are actually drops of oil coloured red, that float up through the denser clear water.

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