Stargirl Wiki
Stargirl Wiki

It's science. Your dad invented it. The hourglass gave your dad super strength. For one hour a day.

Hourman's Hourglass is a powerful artifact that was designed by master chemist and Justice Society of America member, Rex Tyler. He manufactured it using science to grant him super strength for one hour a day. He wore it until his death. The hourglass remained dormant for nine years until Rex's son, Rick, awakened the hourglass's properties.


As a wearable item, the hourglass is small enough to be easily held in one hand and appears to be made of bronze alloy that hangs from a gold chain forming a necklace. Two oblong-shaped disks serve as the vessel's top and bottom parts, linking to each other by two columns by either side of the glass container found between the disks. The duration of its powers when activated is dictated and visually represented by the yellow powder inside the glass portion of the relic.


Rex Tyler manufactured the hourglass using science. The hourglass grants him super strength for one hour a day. He paired it with his DNA so the hourglass would only work for him. After his death, the hourglass was placed in the JSA headquarters alongside his suit.


Ten years after the original Hourman's death, Courtney Whitmore decided to remake the JSA and recruit new members. She mentioned recruiting a new Hourman to her stepfather and superhero expert Pat Dugan, but he rebuffed the idea. That night, Courtney stole several artifacts from the JSA's headquarters, including Hourman's hourglass.[1] Once home, Courtney examined the JSA items she took the next morning, admiring the hourglass as she did. She ultimately placed it back in the duffle bag that she hid in her closet.[2]

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During a chance encounter with Rick Tyler, Courtney took note that the hourglass glowed to life as he passed. As Rick walked away, the glow dimmed until it returned to normal. Courtney followed Rick to the tree where his parents died in a car crash eight years earlier. He took a moment then looked down over his shoulder, asking why Courtney followed him. He wasn't interested in talking to her and tried to leave, but she was persistent. She suddenly pulled out the hourglass and showed it to him, but he was confused as it was just an hourglass. Confused, Courtney shoved it against Rick's chest earning an agitated look from Rick as the hourglass still didn't react. She doesn't understand, muttering that something was wrong. He sharply told her that something was wrong and she should stay on her meds. He then walked away.

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Beth Chapel later tells Rick that the hourglass was built by his father, who was a brilliant chemist. The hourglass gave Rex super strength for one hour per day, which didn't initially impress Rick, but Beth revealed that the hourglass only worked for Rex as it was tied to his DNA. Rick's interest was piqued but he was confused about how it worked. Beth tells him to turn it over just as he would any other hourglass. He put the chain around his neck and turned it over. Upon doing so, the sand inside glowed gold once more, beginning to drip to the bottom as a gold wave enveloped him. Testing his strength, he easily lifted a keg and crushed it like a soda can. He dropped the keg to the ground smiling. He tried to leave without joining the JSA, but Courtney protested that he couldn't take the hourglass, but Rick reminded her it was his father and now it's his. That night, Rick tested his strength when he punched the side mirror of his uncle's truck clean off, only to find that his hand was unharmed. He then punches a large dent in the side of the pickup, which caused it to skid backward. Once Rick agreed to join the JSA, he was able to keep the hourglass and learned more about its functions.[3]

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Rick is then given his father's journal which contains the formula that made the hourglass along with other formulae. Pat Dugan, who gave Rick the journal, scolds Rick on using the hourglass selfishly and carelessly, something Rex never would have done. Pat warns Rick that the power inside can be addicting in tempting, which is why Rex limited the use of it to one hour per day. That night, Rick wears the Hourman suit for the first time and wears the hourglass when he does.[4]

Rick is targeted by the villain Eclipso into seeing his worst fear, Solomon Grundy killing someone after Rick had spared his life, become real. He uses the power of the hourglass to attack what he sees as Grundy, beating the creature and throwing him against a truck in anger. He is stopped by Courtney and the Cosmic Staff, as she urgently reveals that's not Grundy. When Rick stands he is heartbroken to see she's right, and the outlet of his rage was his uncle Matt Harris, now beaten unconscious. Rick emotionally rips the hourglass off his neck and smashes it on the ground. The glass shatters as the sand inside forms a pile on the ground.[5]

Powers and Abilities

I know that he invented the hourglass. The power inside it. I also know how much he respected that power. He knew how addictive that power could be, and how tempting it was to use it in all the wrong ways. Limiting the powers was his idea. One hour a day. And I never saw him abuse it.
Pat about the hourglass in "The Justice Society"

The hourglass' powers are activated when Hourman wears the necklace and turns the timepiece over. This allows the scientific formulae, a yellow powder, to trickle downwards. The scientific properties then activate and spread as a translucent gold energy that layers and "creeps" over his body. The wave of energy begins at the hourglass then spreads outwards and fades away on their way to the extremities. The effects are instantaneous and last for exactly one hour. The creator of the formulae ensured that only someone with his genetic makeup, a Tyler descendant, could wield the power contained. The power inside can be tempting and corrupting, something that Rex understood, which is why he deliberately limited the power to one hour per day.

  • Enhanced Strength: Upon turning the hourglass over while wearing it, wearers can manifest enhanced strength for a full sixty minutes only once per day; this is its primary function and purpose. The empowerment is ostensibly metaphysical by nature and, therefore, operates without affecting the wearer's overall musculature. Nor do they receive a noticeable increase in size or overall bodily mass. During this period, the hourglass-user is stronger than most other walks of life on Earth, and can lift tons of weight with minimal effort. It would seem that the more acclimated to this hour-long enhancement the wearer gets, the stronger and more "streamlined" that individual becomes with the item's power. Rick Tyler constrained his vast potential with angst and embittered application of his strength. He failed to know the limits of, or properly control, his own strength. Overtime, he becomes more accustomed to the power, able to fluidly combine his augmented strength with basic hand-to-hand combat moves to overpower adversaries. He even safely catches or launches his teammates with passable finesse. When using the hourglass, Rick lifted and crushed a full keg of beer, formed a large dent in his uncle's pickup truck by punching it, and lifted a car over his head. Though Rick struggled to lift the weight of the car, he easily punched a truck across a lot, showing that his strength is primarily in forceful strikes. He once punched a tree so hard that it split in half and fell over.
  • Enhanced Durability: While the effects of the hourglass are active, the wearer has an enhanced durability. Although this enhanced physical parameter typically takes a backseat in comparison to the aforementioned preternatural strength, the resilience is not underestimated. It gives its holder protection from the internal, as well as the external, forces at play. Under Rick's employ, he becomes so durable that he remains upright when attacked by the martial artist and peak physical conditioned Sportsmaster. He suffered minor wounds despite being hit by baseballs, struck by Sportsmaster, and took no visible damage from punching a pickup truck, or splitting a tree in one strike. Arguably, his greatest feat is taking a direct hit from Solomon Grundy with relatively minor injuries. Despite the durability, Rick is not immune to physical trauma, pain, or wounds. In fact, he frequently has cuts or blisters on his face from fights against Solomon Grundy or Sportsmaster. A fight against Eclipso left Rick with a cracked rib.
  • Supernatural Leap: Rick can jump incredible distances and land safely, covering frighteningly tall heights and long distances. This also means he has extremely strong and durable legs as intensified by his father's special hourglass.



Additional Season 1 appearances include being pictured in "S.T.R.I.P.E.".
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Season 1
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Notes and Trivia

  • The hourglass only works for Rick and Rex Tyler due to the properties being tied to their DNA.
  • Though Beth and Chuck attest to the artifact's abilities as attributable to science, the fact that it reacts to genetics in spite of the hourglass's seemingly rudimentary construct contradicts the statement.
  • Interestingly, the rendered graphic representation of the hourglass in Dr. Mid-Nite's Goggles showed it as having three parallel columns despite it only having two.

Comic Comparisons

  • In the comics, Rex and Rick Tyler get their super strength by consuming a drug called Miraclo that only lasts for one hour per day.
  • This is the second time that their powers come from turning an hourglass, the first was in Batman: Brave and the Bold.