Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society


SOLART2 sundial sculpture by artist MA2F

SOLART2 by artist MA2F

UNESCO has declared 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL-2015). For sundialists, the inauguration of SOLART2 on the June 2015 solstice may be the highlight. SOLART2 is the largest IYL-2015 artistic sundial project in Europe. It is located in Rivesaltes at the northern entrance of Perpignan, France.  It was initiated in 2013 as a strong symbol of sustainable development. Artist MA2F (Marc-Andre 2 Figuères) is constructing the sundial with an incredibly large gnomon created from a double metal bar with numbers silouhettes cut into the structure.   The dial is meant to illustrate the flow of matter and energy, projecting a continually changing shadow of numbers onto the dial face during the progression of solar time.    The edges of the gnomon are painted red "as a visual value and mastery of light".  You can see a video of the dial at:

Download this file (UN_Resolution_IYL_2015.pdf)UN_Resolution_IYL_2015.pdf[ ]180 kB

Read more: 2015 - International Year of Light

Amelia Peabody Sundial - Dover Town Library
photo: Maureen Sullivan (Wicked Local Dover)

Although Amelia Peabody died in 1984, her legacy and interest in sundials continues. In 1920 she moved to Dover, Delaware, and began raising thoroughbred horses. Ultimately she purchased more than 800 acres in Dover, becoming its largest land owner. She built three houses on her Powisset Farm, three other houses on other properties, and another called the Sun House at 145 Powisset St. in Dover.

As Eleanor Tedesco reports in the Wicked Local Dover on-line news, “The Sun House reflected her interest in heat generated by the power of the sun and was the first of its kind in New England. But the house failed to reach its goal of heating the building with the sun’s heat.” But true to its name, a graceful sundial in the shape of a Nautilus shell decorated her yard.

Read more: Amelia Peabody Sundial

Westminster Dial with Analemma Casting Mirror on Top
Photo Credit: Robert Clark

How do you get the people of your town interested in astronomy?  Robert (Bob) L. Clark a retired professor of mathematics and computer science and member of the Westminster Astronomical Society had the obvious answer: Build a unique sundial.

In the grassy field next to Hoffman’s Ice Cream in Westminster, the Westminster Astronomical Society dedicated a simple horizontal dial attached to a pole with a unique “ornament” … a vertical south facing mirror.

Read more: Westminster Dial with Analemma

Telling Time with Precision
(By Permission - Bill Gottesman)

The Andalusia Star News reports that the Lurleen B. Wallace (LBW) Community College in Andalusia, Alabama, has a new timepiece that President Herb Riedel says, “… is a device used for practical purposes to keep time, but they also take on a symbolic meeting. For a college campus, I thought it would be very appropriate because it combines science and art.”

Indeed, the sundial is a large helical sundial, a modern “Renaissance” sundial designed by Bill Gottesman of Precision Sundials in Vermont.

Read more: Renaissance Dial - It's Academic

Eight years ago the University of Western Australia (UWA) commissioned a talented graduate, artist Shaun Tan, to create an impressionistic sundial for the 100th anniversary of UWA.  The fundamentals of the west-facing sundial were delineated by UWA Professor Peter Kovesi of the Geophysics and Image Analysis Group.

Read more: Four Minutes Til Sunset

nass_news_2013_jun_Selvaggio_ArchesSouthwind Park in Springfield Illinois is a National Model Park.  It got its start in October 2004 when trustees accepted the donation of 80 acres of land just off South Second Street.  Their website states "Our unique state-of-the-art park serves as a national model by proving a new dimensions of inclusion for all people."  A park without boundaries that accomodates people in wheelchairs and visitors with special needs. 

Read more: Southwind Park to get 20-foot Tall Dial

[photo courtesy of John Carmichael]

In 2002, the North American Sundial Society recognized John Carmichael with the Sawyer Dialing Prize as an eminent artisan who creates a wide variety of sundials, principally in stone and glass. In recognition, John received a small brass equatorial sundial made by the renowned British artisan Tony Moss.  But for nearly a decade the sundial remained on John's workbench never seeing the full light of day.

Recently Mr. Carmichael completed a 24:1-scale model railroad in his back yard ( Now his Sawyer Dialing Prize sundial finally sits in the Arizona sun as a miniature "Monumental Sundial" at the Trolley Station.  At the 24:1 scale, the 3-inch dial assumes the proportion of a large 6-foot equatorial sundial. You can see John Carmichael's dials at