Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Features

NASS_2004_TwoWorldsOneSunAt the 2004 NASS Conference in Tenafly, NJ, Fred Sawyer announced that the Sawyer Dialing Prize would go jointly to Bill Nye and Woodruff (Woody) Sullivan for their efforts to transform the Mars Rover Pancam calibration disk into a Martian sundial (with electronically placed hour lines) that could be viewed on the Internet.  The award was a foregone conclusion at the inception of the prize some years ago, but awaited the success of the Mars Rover landings in 2004. [Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell] http://athena.cornell.edu/kids/sundial.html

Unfortunately neither Bill nor Woody was able to attend the conference, but a descriptive paper by Bill was read explaining the corresponding Earth Dial project (“Two Worlds, One Sun”), showing similar styled dials in Utah, Honduras, Ohio, Virginia, Chile, Canada, the UK, Spain, and even the South Pole.  Download the PDF created by Nye Labs at revealing how to make a replica of the Mars Dial.

Fred noted that at the winner’s request, the cash prize will be used to thank and compensate Hilda Taylor, the undergraduate student volunteer who did most of the computer work for the Earth Dial project.  Both Bill and Woody received a certificate and a Spectra Dial by Jim Tallman, with the signature motto of the prize and with a declination line for the date of their choice.

http://www.artisanindustrials.com/world-of-sundials/spectra-sundial-seattle-2.html
Attachments:
Download this file (MakeYourMarsDial_NyeLabs.PDF)Make Your Mars Dial - Nye Labs[Instructions to make a very nice gnomonic sundial]976 kB

2011_UnivPrepAcademyPillarDialSeattle: Sundial Capital of the United States?  The 2011 North American Sundial Society had perfect blue-sky weather for its annual conference held in August 2011.  Professor Woodruff “Woody” Sullivan, conference host at University of Washington started the fest by showing off the large vertical sundial built in 1994 on the side of the Physics and Astronomy Building.

The conference covered a wide range of topics including two presentations on stained glass sundials, the 17th work of La Hire and his successful "La Gnomonique ou L'art de tracer Des Cadrans" ("Gnomonicks or The Art of Shadows of Sundials") and dialist-surveyor and one of the founding members of the Acadamie Royale,  Jean Picard. The methods of taking photos of the sun over months of time, called Solargraphy, was presented by Art Paque, and then there were talks on the operation of cylindrical sundials, sundials that can show standard time, an update on the Mars sundial, and discussions on solar alignments, heliodons and stair shadows.

Helmut Sonderegger, this year’s recipient of the Sawyer Dialing Prize discussed the Rheticus Memorial sundial designed for Georg Joachim Rheticus, the first Copernican. 

Download the PDF and read about the conference in detail, including the bus tour of Seattle dials visiting the Pillar Dial of University Prep Academy, Epiphany School Vertical Dial, and Rebecca Cummins analemma and colored skylights in the ceiling of the Montrose Public Library.

Attachments:
Download this file (2011 NASS Conference Seattle.pdf)2011 NASS Conference Seattle.pdf[NASS Annual Conference]1005 kB

NASS_2003_Helm_RobertsAt the 2003 NASS Conference in Banff, Alberta Canada, Fred Sawyer presented the fourth Sawyer Dialing Prize to Helm Roberts for his design and construction of the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial.  http://www.kyvietnammemorial.net/

 The certificate read in part: “In recognition of his understanding that the spirit of a sundial can not only stir the imagination but also help to heal the heart and preserve fond memory, as evidenced in his design of the Kentucky Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.”  Helm also received the Sawyer Prize cash award and a beautiful special edition of Jim Tallman’s Spectra Sundial in etched glass.

Helm Roberts then gave an intriguing and moving presentation, “Making the Memorial – the Design, Theory, and Construction of the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial” at Frankfort, KY.  The gnomon is made of stainless steel, and the end point of its shadow annually touches the engraved name of each of over 1100 soldiers on the anniversary of the day of death. The political and mechanical issues are fascinating, resulting in a truly artistic triumph.

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

2010_GottesmanPond_SundialFrom paper sundials to street side sundials, NASS celebrated its annual conference in Burlington, VT.  Kate Pond’s “Come Light, Visit Me” sundial, in collaboration with Bill Gottesman, was dedicated at Champlain College.  The sundial uses the properties of an equatorial ring, casting the shadows of time upon itself.

Fred Sawyer talked about Antique Hour Lines, showing finally that the lines are amazingly complex, but come very close, but not exactly to the traditional notion of a straight line.  André Bouchard discussed Le Gnomoniste, a review of the Quebec sundial society 1993-2010.  Roger Bailey gave a short presentation on the solstice points on analemmatic sundials that can be used as sight lines for summer and winter solstice. Roger Bailey gave a detailed talk on the Ibn Al-Shatir Sundial, whose design he studied in detail to produce the Ottoman Garden dial in Missouri.

 Bert Willard, the Springfield Telescope makers Historian and Curator described the sundials and sunclocks from James Hartness and Russell Porter.  Porter is also know for his leadership in amateur astronomy.  Jack Aubert probed into the question of who was first to describe the Equation of Time and the figure “8” analemma.  Finding that the first to draw it with reference to a mean time meridian was Grandjean de Fouchy at the Palace de Petit Luxembourg in Paris sometime before 1741.

Attachments:
Download this file (NASS_2010_Conference.pdf)2010 NASS Conference Burlington[NASS Annual Conference]8605 kB

NASS_2002_CarmichealAt the 2002 NASS Conference in Tucson AZ, Fred Sawyer presented the Sawyer Dialing Prize to John Carmichael.  Fred presented John with a trophy equatorial dial by Tony Moss and a certificate of appreciation for John’s work in recognition of his efforts to bring dialing to a high tech world and his demonstration that it is still possible in that world to prosper as a traditional craftsman of high quality heliochronometers.

John produces a wide variety of sundials, principally in stone and glass.  Many are on public display in parks while others are in private buildings and homes. Visit John’s website at http://www.sundialsculptures.com/ to see the many dials he has produced.

In response to the award, John presented his paper on “Polar Axis Gnomons with Multiple Styles.”  In his talk, John outlined his idea for a project to use the structure of the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope as the gnomon for a sundial.  Although the telescope tube is at the correct polar angle for use as a gnomon, the design is complicated by its size and thickness.  The style width creates different shadows projected from different edges of the structure as the day passes and the fuzziness of the penumbral shadow complicates the reading of the time.

2009_ClarkAnalemmicEquatorialThe Portland tour of sundials included Colby Lamb’s Sundial and workshop, a patio sundial of Rob and Julie Brown that also served as a water sprinkler, a vertical mosaic dial at Stephenson Elementary School, the analemmatic sundial at Marylhurst University designed by John Schilke of NASS and Jan Dabrowski, and across the Willamette River to Reed College and a 1912 vertical sundial designed by Dr. F. L. Griffin.  Then more sundials at the National History Site, Fort Vancouver, and ending with the Clark College Equatorial Sundial with a new analemmic gnomon.  Roger Bailey outlined how he helped Soap Lake’s monumental sculpture become a summertime sundial.  Bill Gottesman showed a realization of Fred Sawyer’s Horizontal Equant Dial that adjusts by simple rotation for the Equation of Time.  And most interesting was Silvio Magnani’s presentation on an interactive reflecting heliochronometer in Milan, Italy.  Read about this and much, much more by downloading the PDF.

Attachments:
Download this file (2009_NASSConference_Portland.pdf)2009 NASS Conference Portland[NASS Annual Conference]2635 kB

NASS_2001_AdzemaAt the 2001 NASS Conference in Montreal, Canada, Fred Sawyer presented the Sawyer Dialing Prize to Robert Adzema, with the award given “in recognition of his demonstrations, in sculpture and in print, that with a sundial we can experience light as a tangible form and “time and place” as inseparable.”  Fred presented Robert with the certificate of recognition and a beautiful trophy equatorial by Tony Moss.  Robert will donate the Sawyer cash prize to a worthy cause.

 Robert describes “my sundials are abstract sculptures that measure the apparent motion of the sun throughout the day, the seasons and even the year. These mostly large, public works are carefully laid out, accurate both mathematically and geometrically, cast or fabricated in bronze, steel or stone and permanently set for their exact location. They are about sunlight and shadow.”

For more of Adzema’s work, read about the Suffern Free Library Sundial in The Compendium [Vol. 8 No. 4] December 2001 or visit http://www.robertadzema.com/

2008_OttomanDial_StLouisDon Snyder was a superb host for the St. Louis conference.  He organized an interesting tour that included the Jefferson Barracks 1817 sundial (now part of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency), the angel holding a vertical sundial on the wall of the St. Louis University Hospital, and the several dials at the Jewel Box in Forest Park.  At the Missouri History Museum, conferees saw the “Forgotten Sundial” designed by Thomas Jefferson.  At Danforth Campus of Washington University  was the 1908 Cupples Dial, and finally at the Missouri Botanical Gardens two dials were dedicated: Ron Rhinehart’s cross-gnomon equatorial and Roger Bailey’s “Ottoman Garden”  sundial, based on Ibn Al-Shatir’s dial carved at the Great Mosque in Damascus in 1371.  At the conference, the major talk was on the Cahokia Woodhenge, presented by Michael Friedlander, professor of physics and astronomy at Washington University.”  And of course there were NASS speakers in abundance talking of dials, dialing scales, and new approaches to the Equation of Time.

Attachments:
Download this file (2008_NASSConference_St_Louis.pdf)2008 NASS Conference St. Louis[NASS Annual Conference]1038 kB

Subcategories

  • Sundials for Starters
    Article Count:
    6
  • Conferences
    Article Count:
    23
  • 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:
    19
  • 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