Re: Origins of ⌚ U+231A WATCH and ⌛ U+231B HOURGLASS

Ken Whistler kenwhistler at
Mon Feb 1 14:54:09 CST 2021


Well, having dusted off the archives, I now have the definitive answer 
as to the origin story for these two in Unicode 1.0.

In Document UTC/1991-016, dating from January, 1991, there were 19 
distinct requests for additions of characters, submitted by Layne Cannon 
on behalf of WordPerfect Corporation, for consideration at UTC #44, 
February 1, 1991. Number 13 of those requests included a request to 
encode "Clock" at U+2677 and "Hourglass" at U+2678. Those two characters 
are what ended up encoded as U+231A WATCH and U+231B HOURGLASS.

The justification for them was that they are "Part of the WordPerfect 
iconic character set". And indeed, they can be found in the attached 
listing of the "WP Symbol Set 5" at 5,31 and 5,32. They are intermixed 
there with other characters that ended up in the Zapf dingbats set in 

BTW, that same request from WordPerfect was also the origin of U+2319 
TURNED NOT SIGN, which was submitted in the same request as "Inverted 
begining of line" [sic].


On 12/30/2020 6:45 PM, M. Pauluk via Unicode wrote:
> Thanks Ken! I had already checked XCCS and IBM code pages too, ⌚ 
> U+231A WATCH and ⌛ U+231B HOURGLASS really couldn't have originated 
> there. 

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