An hourglass (sandglass, sand timer, sand clock, egg timer) measures the passage of a few minutes or an hour of time. It has two connected vertical glass bulbs allowing a regulated trickle of material from the top to the bottom. Once the top bulb is empty, it can be inverted to begin timing again. The name hourglass comes from historically common hour timing. Factors affecting the time measured include the amount of sand, the bulb size, the neck width, and the sand quality. Alternatives to sand are powdered eggshell and powdered marble(sources disagree on the best material). Modernly, hourglasses are ornamental or used when an approximate measure suffices, as in egg timers for cooking or for board games.