Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Features

Dear Friends,

A great loss has hit our gnomonic community in Italy. Our friend Giacomo Agnelli died about a week ago.  Giacomo was one of the great gnomonists of the past. He had written dozens of articles in engineering and horology, also dealing with mechatronics [mechanical] sundials. He had worked at the European space project, and had frequent ...articles for our magazines [on] gnomonics. He had participated in all meetings of horology in Italy and was known for his satirical cartoons and gnomonic caricatures ...

Nicola Severino                      Visit A Tribute to Giacomo Agnelli

[from the Sundial Mailing List, sundial Digest, Vol 71, Issue 3 https://lists.uni-koeln.de/mailman/listinfo/sundial  ]

Ing. Gianni Ferrari was awarded the 2015 Sawyer Dialing prize, with his certificate acknowledging: "for his long career educating the dialing community about the nearly forgotten heritage of ancient Islamic gnomonics and the wide variety of modern analytically developed sundials."  Since 2000 Gianni has contributed nearly 30 articles to the NASS Compendium, enriching dialists' knowledge around the world.  Recently he published the books Le Meridiane Dell'Antico Islam (Sundials of Ancient Islam) and Formule e metodi per lo studio degli orologi solari piani - Caratteristiche, descrizione e calcolo degli orologi solar paini comuni e pop conosciuti  (Formulae and methods for the study of flat sundials - with characteristics, descriptions and calculations of common and less known sundials).  Gianni's acceptance presentation for the conference was on "Forgotten Dialing Formulas" using versines.  The versine trigonometric function was engraved on ancient quadrants, forming the small arcs "versus" and "rectus" that were used for solving the Astronomical Triangle to derive solar azimuth and hour angle time.  Those that have learned to navigate with a sextant may indeed remember using half versines or "haversines" tables. His presentation is in the September 2015 issue of the NASS The Compendium.  Gianni was not able to attend the NASS Conference in Victoria, but sent greetings from Italy. He asked that NASS donate the $200 prize money to benefit an appropriate dialing cause.  Like other dialing prize recipients, he received a Spectra Sundial by Jim Tallman of Artisan Industrials.  Gianni's dial was designed for his home in Modena, Italy at 44o 34' N 10o 51' E.

http://www.artisanindustrials.com/world-of-sundials/spectra-sundial-modena-italy.html

Portland Maine WCSH Channel 6 presents local and national news and the usual sports, weather and traffic.  But on a recent 207 broadcast, they reported an invasion ... an invasion of sundialists coming to Portland, Maine for their annual conference and their search for a dial made over a century ago by Albert Crehore that might still be somewhere in Portland. 

Members of the North American Sundial Society (NASS) take the art and science of sundials very seriously.  Watch the video and consider joining NASS for even more sundial adventures.  Visit Portland Channel 6 News:

This Sundials for Starters appeared in The Compendium in December, 2005

by Robert Kellogg, Ph.D.

Dial and Gnomon Set to Correct Site Latitude of 38 Degrees

This is the start of a regular column to review the basics of Sundials.  Of course NASS provides an introductory CD disk on sundials and there is always the classic reference Sundials, Their Theory and Construction by A.E. Waugh.

For this article, let’s consider some basics in buying a sundial for the garden.  Or perhpas you want to make one.  There are magazine catalogs and websites that offer “fine English dials”.  But are they for you?  Consider the latitude of an English dial.  London is at about 51º north latitude, while most of the populated area of North America is below 45º.  Take a look at the gnomon of your potential purchase. The gnomon should be approximately the same angle as you latitude.  Here we’ll illustrate a dial (Figure 1) from the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland with latitude of approximately 38º.

Attachments:
Download this file (SerlesRuler.jpg)Serle's Ruler[Ruler to Measure or Make a Sundial]37 kB

Read more: Sundial Latitude

Along with her husband, Mrs. Webster spent much of her life and fortune combing auction catalogs and antiquarian shops to create a collection of early scientific instruments so renowned, it is considered in the same company as the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, according to Bolt, Adler planetarium vice president for collections.  The Websters are primarily responsible for the world-class collection of scientific instruments at the Adler.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/obituaries/5722751-418/marjorie-kelly-webster-95-collected-scientific-instruments.html

NASS is supporting the Adler to catalog their sundial collection enhanced over the years by Marjorie Kelly and her husband.

Sawyer Prize to Robert KelloggAt the 2014 NASS Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, Fred Sawyer announced this year’s Sawyer Dialing Award is given to Robert Kellogg, “who, through his constant outreach, his unflagging support of NASS, and his technical ingenuity, as evidenced by his invention of the digital sundial, has helped to usher dialing into the modern age.”

Bob designed and patented a digital sundial based on sunbeam projection, first considered when he was at the US Naval Postgraduate School.  But it took more than a decade for those ideas to gel into a firm technical form and a US Patent.

Bob continues to write “Sundials for Starters”, a regular column for NASS's Compendium. Over the last several years he has organized the joint NASS-Analemma Society outreach at the US Science and Engineering Festival and has brought sundialing to Montgomery County Schools in Maryland for the last 20 years.

Fred Sawyer presented Bob with an award certificate, the traditional cash prize of $200 and a custom made Spectra Sundial by Jim Tallman of Artisan Industrials.

http://www.artisanindustrials.com/world-of-sundials/spectra-sundial-potomac.html

Ellipsoidal Gnomon SundialThe 2015 NASS Sundial Conference was held in Victoria, B.C.  Roger Bailey organized the conference and provided a sundial tour in Victoria, stopping at the BC Legislature Rose Garden dial, the St. Ann's Academy dial, Christ Church Cathedral vertical dial, the BC Government House totem sundial, and more, including a visit out to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory to see the 1.8 meter telescope.

Steve Luecking discussed spherical and elliptical gnomons where tangent points are dropped to a circle circumscribing the ellipse and hour lines are then drawn as tangents from the points on the circle.  Steve used this technique to design a sundial using an elliptical gnomon with symbolic native art for Victoria. (Illustration at right)

Len Berggren described the design and building of a sundial that can show both solar and mean time, done with a $1000 grant from NASS.  Presentations included John Schilke discussing the Heliotrope and Heliograph.  Barry Duell outlined the history of a sundial at Willamette University donated by the Class of 1916.  The dial was dedicated to Prof. Matthews and engraved with his motto of "Sagacity, Audacity, Holiness, Chairty."

Prof. Woody Sullivan described 3 new dials.  The first two, an Oculus table and a Solar Hour Benches are at the San Francisco Exploratorium.  The third dial at the Very Large Array Radio Telescope in New Mexico is the world's first and only sundial made from one of the original radio telescopes.  It was constructed in memory of Prof. Ron Bracewell of Stanford Univ. a pioneer in radio astronomy.

Jackie Jones, Doug Bateman, Sasch Stephens, Fred Sawyer, and Mark Montgomery presented a wide range of topics from reflecting dials, elliptical dials and moon dials, to ancient Egyptian shadow clocks.  Bob Kellogg, unable to attend, sent along a video on a new digital gnomon sundial, while Frank King and Steve Luecking discussed optical geometries and illusions. (Read more in the attached dowloadable PDF)

This year's Sawyer Dialing Prize was awarded to Ing. Gianni Ferrari "for his long career educating the dialing community about the nearly forgotten heritage of ancient Islamic gnomonics and the wide variety of modern analytically developed sundial." (Read more about the Sawyer Dialing Prize)

Attachments:
Download this file (2015 NASS Conference Victoria.pdf)2015 NASS Conference - Victoria[Victoria Conference]1043 kB

nass_news_2010_july_GinoSchiavoneGino Schiavone: After studying Liberal Arts at Loyola University and Fine Arts at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles I began a career of what I called “making wonderful things.” Some thirty years ago I happened upon some books about sundials at a library. This happy accident changed my life. These books introduced me to the wide range of sundials and methods for their design. I was enthralled and inspired; I was in love. I decided to make fine sundials and embarked on a new course of study.

 

Read more: Biography of Gino Schiavone

Subcategories

  • Sundials for Starters
    Article Count:
    6
  • Conferences
    Article Count:
    24
  • Sawyer Dialing Prize
    Fred Sawyer, in cooperation with the North American Sundial Society, established a continuing yearly award, the Sawyer Dialing Prize to be presented by NASS to an individual for accomplishments in or contributions to dialing and the dialing community.
    Article Count:
    20
  • Terwilliger Sundials
    In these pages is the famous tub sundial created by Robert Terwilliger using his laser trigon to lay out hour lines on a very irregular surface to create a working sundial.
    Article Count:
    1
  • Biographies

    Who are today's sundial artisans?  Here are several bioghraphies of several artisans that show the unique combination of talents in art, engineering, and mathematics.

    Article Count:
    6
  • Sunquest Sundial

    This section is dedicated to Richard Schmoyer who invented the Sunquest sundial.  Please visit http://sunquestsundial.org/ as well.

    Article Count:
    3