Restoration of the pulpit hourglass

The fundraising society for Halberstadt Cathedral and the Cathedral treasures has gathered funds to bring one work of art out of storage for good: a pulpit hourglass dating to 1726. It offers a striking insight into how services took place in the nave of the cathedral from the 18th century on. Attached to the late-16th-century pulpit, its four mouth-blown glass bulbs timed the words of the clergy preaching in the cathedral. The sand trickled through each one for a different length of time, for sermons of different lengths.

One of the surprises during the restoration of this historical timepiece was that intensive research revealed the location of the original glass bulbs, previously believed lost. Thanks to a little note found attached to the hourglass, they were discovered in the storage facility of the Saxon State Office for the Protection of Monuments in Halle an der Saale. As a result, the entire hourglass was successfully put back together, including the mechanism used to operate it. The many techniques required to build it show how special the piece is: it was sawed, planed, drilled, turned, carved, forged and gilded; and some parts were oil-gilded and painted. Set in delicate architectural structures, the glass bulbs blended in harmoniously with the design of the pulpit, the focus of attention during the sermon.


Funding providers:
Förderverein Dom und Domschatz zu Halberstadt e.V. friends association

Project management:
Kulturstiftung Sachsen-Anhalt

Project organiser:
Restorer Christine Machate