In June 2018 the Georgia Historical Society dedicated a historical marker in Chatham Square to Louis B. Toomer, which read in part "Louis Burke Toomer, African-American leader, local bank founder, and realtor, was born in Savannah in 1897. Raised and educated locally, Toomer established the Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation on February 23, 1927, in the historic black business district on West Broad Street. During segregation, the company provided banking, investment, and insurance services for blacks who were not always allowed access to white banking establishments...." 
But before the historical marker was the Louis B. Toomer sundial in Chatham Square. As Georgia Wright Benton (past president of the Savannah Chapter of the National Conference of Artists) recalled:
"The sundial was dedicted in the spring of 1963 by the Savannah Chapter of the National Conference of Artists ... an organization comprised of black students throughout Chatham County along with their art teachers. West Broad Street School for black students was closed in 1962 and the pupils were transferred to Barnard Street School. Members of the National Conference of Artists visited the new school and one of our members observed that the park in front of the school, Chatham Square, needed improvement. Beautification of Chatham Square became a project for the organization, and the group decided to place a sundial in the square. We wanted something permanent that represented the black community in front of the Barnard Street school."
"The organization held several fundraisers to pay for the sundial. The primary fundraiser was a concert held in the Beach High School auditorium during the fall of 1962. Our concert artist was Kiah’s sister, a soprano singer. The fundraiser was a success and the sundial was purchased with help from Carver State Bank and Toomer’s wife, Janie. ... This sundial was the first dedication to an African-American in a Savannah square contributed by black students of a black organization." 
Over the years vandals have attacked and damaged the sundial. Each time, members of the Savannah-Chatham Historic Site and Monument Commission restored the sundial, " [making] a public plea for help and a reminder to the monument marauder that destruction of public property is a felony..."  You can see more of this dial in the NASS Sundial Registry (Georgia/Savannah #942).
It started simply enough. Keith, a "treasure hunter" reported finding a 1733 sundial "in the Carolinas". (http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/my-best-finds/603181-1733-colonial-sundial-found-restored.html). The brass sundial about 5 or 6 inches in size was found crumpled and apparently had a number of modern attempts to solder a gnomon back onto the dial plate. Kieth reported, "When I found the piece it had been bent and damaged so I sent it to an expert in restoring metal objects....It has been the best find of my relic hunting career. I hope to get some detailed info from people who know about sundials."
The dial is done in the English style of the period, that is to say, the dial is cut as an octogon with a circular chapter ring with Roman numerals and delineated on the outside to the quarter hour. In the center is an 8-point compass rose with the cardinal points labelled "N,S,E,W". Four crude and somewhat modern screw holes held the dial to some modern base. The maker's initials D.D.M. are berlow the engraving of the original owner "William * Lane" with the date 1733.
As Kieth notes, "[The dial] is one of the earliest from southern colonial America". But the problem is where? The engraved latitude is "Latt: 34:30". Using Serle's ruler confirms that the delineated hour lines are between 34 and 35 degrees. That should allow a quick check of southern cities to identify the home of this dial. The center of population in the 1750's was Willmington, NC at 34:14. If we assume that William Lane was a farmer a person of means, then two possibilities arise: Blenheim SC and Laurens SC both at 34:30. Laurens County, in particular, was in the area where thousands of immigrants, mainly Scottish and Irish, settled in the pre-revolution Carolinas. Then there is Kershaw SC at 34:32 which was settled around 1732 by English traders and farmers who moved inland from Charleston. What was the provinance of this dial? We may never know, but you can search the below 1755 map from University of North Carolina library of historic maps for towns and river portsat: https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/ncmaps/id/123
A team led by David Mearns reported on the oldest Mariner's Astrolabe in a recent article of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. During a 2013-2014 series of diving expeditions off the coast of Oman they discovered a Portugues solid leaded-gunmetal disk astrolabe. As the authors put it, "A well-documented and dramatic story from one of the earliest Portuguese foyages to India ... involves the loss off two naus [sailing vessels], the Esmeralda and Sao Pedro, which sank in shallow waters off the coase of a remote Omani Island in the Arabian Sea." What has made this legend is that these ships were part of a Portuguese armada to India led by the legendary explorer Vasco da Gama. Mearns tells the story that following the return of da Gamma and the main fleet to Portugal in February 1503, Vicente and Bras Sodre, uncles of da Gama, led their two ships back to patrol the waters off the south-west Indian coast. But Vicente sailed his squadron to the Gulf of Aden where they looted and burnt a handful of Arab ships. "Vicente then took his ships to Al Hallaniyah ...where they found a safe anchorage to shelter from the south-west monsoon...It was in this location, in May 1503, where a sudden and furious wind tore the two naus from their moorings and drove them against the rocky shoreline smashing their wooden hulls and causing the deaths of many crew, including the squadron commander Vcente Sodre"
Recovered from the ocean after 500 years was the 17.5 cm 344 gram metal Sodre astrolabe as well as more than 2000 other metal and ceramic artifacts. The were slowly desalinated over a period of two years. The astrolabe was clearly decorated with the Portuguese royal coat of arms at top and an esfera armilar (armillary sphere) at bottom. But there was no alidade or any visible gradations. Using laser imagery a total of 18 scale marks became visible along the limb of the upper right quadrant with a spacing of 5 degrees. These marks probably extended to make a full 90 degree quadrant. The solid metal Sodre astrolabe is a rarity, for shortly after 1500 a new generation of open ring astrolabes emerged. An illustration of a mariner's astrolabe from the Boria Chart (1529) shows a ring planisphere with angles marked for 180 degrees. The new open design remaind stable in the wind and became the dominant navigation instrument for the next 170 years. Read the full article at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/1095-9270.12353 or a short condensed version at World’s Oldest Mariner’s Astrolabe Found | Archaeology | Sci-News.com
Last February in the Panorama Armenian News an article reviewed some of the oldest sundials in Armenia. Piliposyan, Doctor of History at the Preservations Service for Historic-Cultural Reserve-Museums and Historic Environment (SNCOT) related that the oldest sundial may be on the Zvartnots temple dating to the 7th century. Sundials have been preserved on buildings of Dsegh, Tsakhkadzor, Dilijan, Noyemberyan as well as Nagorno Karabakh churches. Sundial also were curved on khachkars [Armenian cross-stones]. In the Panorama article Piliposyan said that apart from serving as clocks, sundials served as a means of communicating with god. He brought the example of the Zvartnots temple sundial found during excavations with enclosed documents calling on prayers to talk to god whatever time it was.
The vertical dials had horizontal gnomons and on the dial face there are typically 12 equally spaced divisions to mark the hours. Frank King commented on the dials that "These are variants of the standard European sundials used for indicating 'unequal [temporal] hours', at least approximately, in medieval times. Several thousand survive in England alone. They divide the daylight period from sunrise to sunset into 12 parts. Unfortunately, these parts are not equal in time and their relationship varies with the time of year....The examples in the photographs seem very nicely made."
To appreciate the Medieval Armenian dials as well as modern interpretations, visit https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2019/02/23/Armenian-sundials/2076856
Register now for the North American Sundial Society 2019 conference to be held in the mile high city of Denver, Colorado. As always there will be an exciting list of presentations and tour of sundials. This year the conference is in June, starting Thursday afternoon at 4:30pm on June 20th continuing through 1pm on Sunday 23rd. THIS IS THE BUSIEST VACATIO WEEKEND OF THE YEAR IN DENVER. So make your registration now at the Hilton Garden Inn - Denver Downtown, 1400 Welton Street Denver CO 80202 (Phone 303-603-8000). NASS has a discound rate of $179/night (plus 15.75% tax). This rate will apply 5 days before and after the conference if rooms are available. Contact the hotel using the "NASS19" discount code. You can also go to the hotel's website set up for the NASS Registration at:
The hotel is 25 miles from the Denver International Airport. Transportation to the hotel is possible using the RTD Train from the airport to Union Station and then the Free Mall Ride Bus on 16th Street. There is always taxi service and Uber.
Full NASS registration until April 14th is $310-$322 depending upon dinner selection. After April 14th the cost increases to $335-$347. Download the attached registration form for full details. If you have a presentation or a table display, please contact Fred Sawyer.
It's rare that a sundialist casts a shadow on UK education, but that's exactly what Dr. Frank King did the other day in a BBC interview (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-47133011). Dr. King, a Fellow in Computer Science at Churchill College, has long been intrigued with time remarking to the BBC in an interview, "Anything from atomic clocks to the most ancient of sundials I can tell you about." He is Keeper of the Clock, responsible for Cambridge University's official timepiece on Great St. Mary's Church. But the number of people interested in sundials is on the wane. As president of the British Sundial Society,(a group like the North American Sundial Society who all truly enjoy time systems and the anciernt and beautiful art of designing sundials) Dr. King notes with sadness that the number of people who "really understand" the science behind sundials "are few and far between..... There seems to be no teaching of spherical triangles, and very little teaching of solid geometry. How many school leavers have heard of Euclid?"
Some could argue that who needs sundials in this age of digital watches, GPS navigation, and fit-bit monitors? The UK Register reports that "[Dr.] King would likely be deeply saddened to know, then, that there are people of adult age out there incapable of reading analogue clocks." But for those interested in promoting STEM in schools and getting students excited in something beyond designing a video game, the study of sundials offers a wonderful perspective. As stated by the BBC, "Dr. King strongly believes the sundial - 'the perfect collaboration of science and art' - has a place in the digital age. But he is concerned that the skills needed to create them may dwindle, and believes education could play a greater role."
The development of an aethetically pleasing sundial involves using digital computer aided design tools that sometimes significantly altering classic designs. Sundials requires artisan skill and craft for the selection of materials, casting, engraving and even 3D printing of dials. A sense of artistic proportion is needed to create pleasing embellishments that still remain true to the underlying mathematics that convey acurate time. Artist, sculpture, craftsman, geometer, mathematician, computer programmer, engraver and metal worker are but a few of the talents encompassing the talents of a dialist.
Back in March of 2012, NASS had an article about an inventive sundialist constructing a 62-LEGO block equatorial dial. That now seems like ancient history. In Beijing China, dialists have built a ring dial 9 1/2 feet in diameter consisting of more than 45,000 LEGO blocks, setting a new Guinness World Record.
The dial was the idea of Mrs. Hou at Playable Design, a company that creates and develops eduational activities using LEGO construction blocks. Astronomical professionals and structural engineers were enlisted to guide this three month construction project. According to an article from the on-line Guiness World Records website, Mrs. Hou (founder of Playable Design), says the giant ring sundial "... is a teaching tool that allows children to learn sciences across disciplines including astronomy, mathematics, history and cosmology. Inspire children to think and ask questions, when they see the ring sundial, but we are all very excited to ber recognized by the Guinness World Records at the same time.... This is an important part of a public education project. For creators and educators like us, the process of learning never stops."
See a time-lapse video of the dial's construction at: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2018/11/45-000-bricks-used-to-create-largest-lego-brick-ring-sundial-for-gwr-day-546470