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Mechanical timers use clockwork to measure time. Manual timers are typically set by turning a dial to the time interval desired; turning the dial stores energy in a mainspring to run the mechanism. They function similarly to a mechanical Alarm Clock; the energy in the mainspring causes a balance wheel to rotate back and forth. Each swing of the wheel releases the gear train to move forward by a small fixed amount, causing the dial to move steadily backward until it reaches zero, when a lever arm strikes a bell. The mechanical Kitchen Timer was invented in 1926 by Thomas Norman Hicks. Some less accurate, cheaper mechanisms use a flat paddle called a fan fly that spins against air resistance; low-precision mechanical egg-timers are sometimes of this type. The simplest and oldest type of Mechanical Timer is the hourglass, in which a fixed amount of sand drains through a narrow opening from one chamber to another to measure a time interval.