Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

 

Of the 101 things that play in Peoria, the Pekin Illinois Sundial in Mineral Springs Park is rated #59, and billed as the World's greatest sundial in Pekin, Illinois.  Even Google Maps marks the Pekin Sundial.  The Pekin Park District says: "picturesquely located in the Sunken Gardens in Mineral Springs Park, this unique sundial tells the hours before or after noon and the highest point of the sun on a given day. More interesting information is available on the earth, sun, planets and latitude and longitude at the site."

The Peroria Journal Star interviewed Hentry Cakora, now 79, who built the dial using his family business, Tazewell Machine Parts and convinced the Pekin Park District to provide land for its construction in the Sunken Gardens of Mineral Springs Park.  It's easy to spot on Google Maps just south of Court Street near the park's Lagoon that from spring through fall offers a pedalboat rides.

Cakora who knew about the sun's motion and was good at mathematics created a complex set of sundials.  The main sundial is a horizontal dial about 6 feet tall of burnished steel, surrounded by hour marks on the ground.  But if you're there near noontime there are extra treats.  At the base of the sundial is a thin upright triangle split down the middle allowing it to cast a narrow beam of light toward the noon mark.  Then there is a pole just north of the dial with two flat nodi about 12 inches in diameter, each having a hole in the center.  The lower nodus casts a shadow that each hour falls on an analemma that allows correction for the sun's irregular "Equation of Time".  Charts explain this to the observer as well.  The upper nodus casts its shadow on a noon mark analemma, with small stakes to indicate the soltices and equinox.

Nearby is a planet.  Is it part of a planet trail that starts from the Park's nearby fountain?  Or is there another astronomical explanation? In any event, if the Pekin dial isn't one of the World's greatest, Cakora declares “I’m sure, by far, it’s the most accurate."

Read about it in the Peoria Journal Star:  http://101.pjstar.com/59-worlds-greatest-sundial/    and see at:   http://www.pekinparkdistrict.org/sundial.html