I found this very interesting timing device in a 2nd hand/antiques store in the USA. It attracted me directly as special, and must have paid about $15 for it.|
The device is extremingly simple, 5 hour glasses in one holder. They range from 1 to 5 minutes (and are fairly accurate).
On the great Interweb, I could not find anything like it, no photographs of an identical one, though there are some modern versions.
However, the device itself was patented, with the US patent number 1124543, patent applied for on Feburary 28, 1913 and granted on January 12, 1915. It was invented by a Mr. Ralph R. Spears. Read the complete patent here. The construction of the device I have, is identical to the description on the patent. There are marques on the sides, which say: "Patents pending, USA AND Foreign Countries". If that is true, it should have been manufactured between in 1913 or 1914. Patents in other countries never seem to have been granted (I could not find them). There is also a manufacturer's marque, which however is too unclear to read.
In the photo below, it is easy to see the 4 screws, with which the wooden base/top is secured inside the frame. Difference with the patent is that that shows only 2 screws. The sand in the glass in the middle has a different colour. maybe it was replaced after it was broken?
It measures 10 x 8 x 4 cm.