Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Sundials of North America

This is a complete listing of sundials in the North American Sundial Society Registry. Click on any dial thumbnail picture or city name to display our complete listing and images. To see sundials in a particular state or province, you may click on the list at left to see all registered sundials in that state, province or country (at bottom) displayed in city order.

 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 880
This simple bronze sundial about 12 inches in diameter sits on a 3-foot fluted plinth made from Indiana limestone. Embossed hour lines extend from 5am to 7pm delineated every 15 minutes. Surrounding the hour chapter are Roman numerals with the noon hour marked by "0". The gnomon is very attractive, with a bird ensconced between the style and base. The dial was given to Howard University by the Lampados Club of Alpha Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in 1929 to honor Benjamin Banneker, 18th century astronomer, surveyor and executing architect of the District of Columbia.
 
 
Danville Vermont USA Vertical Dial 879
A simple vertical dial created on the front brick wall of the high school. There are no hour lines, but large Roman numerals are placed from 10am to 5pm to delineate the hours using Daylight Saving Time (where the 1pm hour is on the vertical). The gnomon is a simple rod.
 
 
Regina Saskatchewan Canada Vertical Dial 878
This vertical dial is mounted directly onto the stucco wall of the house. The gnomon is a triangle of aluminum cut from 3/16 inch sheet, with a 2-inch hole as a breather to relieve stress from cross winds. More interesting are the hour lines, made of a double strand of heavy copper wire, with each extending from winter to summer solstice, held with pegs (from Canadian Tire). A middle peg shows the equinox as well. Hour lines extend from 7am to 6pm, shown in simple Arabic numbers. The sundial is operational in clear weather from 8:30am - 6pm through all seasons.
 
 
Williamsburg Virginia USA Armillary Dial 877
This armillary is constructed of welded carbon steel narrow bands approximately 4-feet in diameter sitting on an iron post about 3-feet high. The equatorial band has no engraved or embossed time marks, but the simple rod gnomon has two side rods. According the the WPL website, "Time on the sundial is read by looking at where the gnomon shadow is cast. This shadow will be the middle, thicker shadow of the three shadow-lines ... Although hours are not marked off on this sundial, you can estimate the time of day by thinking of the gnomon shadow hoop as the clock face and the shadow as the hour hand of that clock." Well, not exactly. The hours are at 15-deg intervals with 12 noon at the bottom of the equatorial band at the intersection of the meridian band. This armillary is more of a sculpture than a timepiece. Yet the armillary has the traditional tropic of Capricorn and Cancer bands as well as Arctic, Antarctic,and horizontal bands.
 
 
Hawthorn Woods Illinois USA Equatorial Dial 876
This equatorial dial sits on a 61-inch octagonal base that serves as a columbarium. The dial is reminiscent of Erickson Memorial sundials. This granite sundial is 38.5 inches in diameter and 6 inches thick. The 3-inch diameter gnomon is made of hollow galvanized steel pipe with a white powder coating. The engraving on the sundial was done using a rubber stencil and sandblasting with aluminum oxide abrasive. No water jet was used. The center core hole was cut using a diamond segmented coring machine, like a big drill press with an expensive hole saw.
 
 
Lancaster Pennsylvania USA Heliochronometer Dial 875
This 7.5 inch diameter heliochronometer was milled out of aluminum and set to the site latitude with a mounting plate. One heliochronometer arm has a sun illumination counter sunk hole 0.125 inch in diameter and on the other arm an engraved analemma for proper pointing offset to display civil time. Time marks are milled at 5 minute intervals, and a vernier is added (5 lines 4 minutes apart) so that time can be read to the nearest minute.
 
 
Windsor Ontario Canada Vertical Dial 874
A vertical stone sundial made of white quartzite approximately in a 6 x 4 feet rectangle. The dial face includes engraved hour lines from 7am to 6pm in Arabic hour numerals for Eastern Daylight Time and an elegant engraved outline of St. Dimitrije based on a partially preserved 14th century fresco of the Saint in St.Mary's Church, Donja Kamenica, Serbia. Rather than summer and winter solstice lines, a single hyperbola indicates the route of the gnomon shadow's tip on 8 November - the day of St.Demetrius (St. Dimitrije). In fact, the gnomon is represented at St. Demetrius' sword (or more appropriately, his spear). A small bell is engraved at 10am indicating the time of morning liturgy. At about 11:15 if you look closely, you can see the subnode point (polos montaza) of the gnomon tip used for alignment during construction.
 
 
New York New York USA Sculpture Dial 873
The Sun Triangle is a 50-foot sculpture of polished stainless steel set upon a leaning 20-foot stainless steel pole, creating a futuristic look. The sides of the triangle are aligned such that steepest side points to the sun at noon for the summer solstice at an altitude of 73 degrees at solar noon (12:48pm Daylight Saving Time) while the lower side of the triangle points to the winter solstice at an angle of 26 degrees. The upper side and longest side of the triangle points to the the noonday sun on the spring and fall equinoxes.
 
 
Augusta Maine USA Horizontal Dial 872
This historic brass dial is about 18 inches in diameter, set upon a square, concrete pillar. The dial plate has Roman numbers and is delineated in quarter hours. Magnetic variation is engraved at degree intervals. The dial originally had a removable wood cover, then a metal one, which became permanently closed. It was removed in 2009 and now has a plexiglass cover. From Betty Adams in the Kennebec Journal, "At the uncovering, a half dozen people strained to read some of the lettering on the dial: 'Arc for magnetic variation', [and on an interior circle] 'Moses B. Bliss - Circumferentor' which means surveyor's compass... The meridian monument was one of those erected at county courthouses in Maine between 1869 and 1871, according to research by Harold E. Nelson, senior geodesist at the Maine Department of Transportation's property office...Nelson said the monument would have been used by local land surveyors to test their compasses against true north."
 
 
Oro Valley Arizona USA Analemmatic Dial 871
This analemmatic sundial is painted on concrete. It is similar to John Carmichael's human sundial at Flandrau Planetarium at the University of Arizona. The orange background was painted by hand with acrylic paint on top of the blue acrylic court surface. Lettering and other markings were painted with Rustoleum spray enamel using stencils from Stencilease.com. Final touch up painting was done by hand. It took a three man team ten days to paint. It's quarter hour time marks are longitude corrected and shows Standard Time when readings are adjusted using the Equation of Time. It includes a central Date Line for standing, using monthly and weekly marks. There is a Solar Noon mark, and Bailey Points to indicate the direction of sunrise and sunset.
 
 
Waring Texas USA Vertical Dial 870
This is a rare American stained glass sundial, accurately telling time and season. It occupies the center panel of a five panel window that forms a cross. The vertical sundial panel measures 28x28 inches and declines 48° west of south, so it only functions in the afternoons. The dial is longitude corrected and indicates Daylight Saving Time when readings are adjusted using the Equation of Time. The gnomon is a 3/4 inch brass ball nodus attached by a non-polar axis rod to the aluminum Sussman window frame. It is the only stained glass sundial in the world that uses frosted colored stained glass to enhance the view of the nodus shadow. It has three seasonal date lines, a solar noon mark, and other marks showing special anniversary dates. It contains the traditional fly, seen on the the lower yellow panel between 1pm and 1:30pm.
 
 
Gainesville Florida USA Vertical Dial 869
The oblong 28 inch long x 14 inch high vertical dial appears to be cast aluminum, painted black, but with much of the paint worn off. The dial plate is surrounded with a motif of decorative fish, star fish, shells and scales. The hour lines are most peculiar. The lines are numbered from 7am to 5pm, but there are two more morning and evening hour lines, none of which are horizontal that would be expected for 6am and 6pm. In laying a proper set of hour lines for latitude 29.658 on top of a photograph of the dial, the hours from 9am to 3pm appear nearly correct. The 8am and 4pm hour lines appear at what is really 8:30/3:30, the 7am and 5pm hour lines appear at what is really 8:00/4:00. The last two dial hour angles for morning or evening are totally irreconcilable. The brass gnomon, in the shape of a downward pointing arrow, is bent, but perhaps more disconcerting is that it is mounted on a pivot, indicating that it can be moved to different latitudes. The dial, although decorative, certainly is not a worthy timepiece.
 
 
Bay Fortune Prince Edward Island Canada Horizontal Dial 868
A brass, horizontal dial about 14 inches in diameter sits on a stone pedestal with a red marble cap. Embossed Roman numbers mark the hours from 4am to 8pm, and delineated every 10 minutes. Radiating from the center are pointed leaves to each hour. The dial plate green patina is marred by graffiti and the gnomon has broken off. A restoration for this dial is planned using the original gnomon.
 
 
Kokomo Indiana USA Analemmatic Dial 867
This brightly decorated analemmatic sundial is painted on the asphalt to look like a book turning into flowers, showing the combination of literacy and nature. The dial is approximately 10 foot wide with hour marks from 5am to 7pm with drawings of various flowers. Noon is marked with a large sunflower. The central walkway is simply done with the abbreviated names of the months, one column in green, the other in red.
 
 
Gainesville Florida USA Armillary Dial 866
As the tour pamphlet states,"The striking armillary sphere sundial, donated in 1986 by the Gowan family, terminates an important sight line from the Turtle Court. Two Washingtonia palms stand like tall sentries as visitors cross the arcade from the Turtle Court to the sundial." The bronze dial about a meter in diameter has a 3-inch bronze equatorial band with Roman numeral hour marks on the interior and signs of the zodiac on the exterior. The gnomon is a arrow rod that fits the "massiveness" of the sundial. All sit on an ornate granite pedestal that in turn sits on a square dais elevated about 6 inches from the ground.
 
 
New Berlin Wisconsin USA Equatorial Dial 865
This whimsical yet elegant equatorial dial is made from old farm implements. The materials are high carbon steel and cast iron parts. The 18-inch gear is a flywheel from an International Harvester farm tractor. The base is a harrow blade for tilling soil. The harrow blades ride on a square shaft and the blades are separated by spacers seen the base of the sundial. The meridian arcs are soil tillers that would ride on a drum behind the tractor. These pieces are very challenging to weld because they are dissimilar materials. Horseshoe nails mark the hours on the equatorial arc. No hour numbers are used, just the nails. The gnomon is an arrow rod.
 
 
Raleigh North Carolina USA Horizontal Dial 864
Known as the Primrose Sundial, the bronze dial plate is a little more than a foot in diameter and sits on a small stone pillar about four feet high. The dial has simple hour lines from 4am to 8pm marked on the hour in Roman numerals. The open bronze gnomon is about 1/2 inch thick, held by both tenon and two large screws.
 
 
Houston Texas USA Armillary Dial 863
The armillary sundial is part of the statue Hercules Upholding the Heavens. The statue portrays the ancient Greek hero Hercules performing the eleventh of his twelve labors, holding the heavens on his back for Atlas. The bronze sculpture is 1,650 pounds and over 10 feet tall. In 1917 Paul Manship was asked by Charles Schwab (Bethlehem Steel) to create this sculpture for his garden at his newly completed mansion.
 
 
Newport News Virginia USA Vertical Dial 862
This vertical dial declines 28 degrees east, and was commissioned as educational artwork for the new Discover STEM Academy (Magruder Elementary School). The dial is 21 feet wide and 14 feet tall consisting of quarter inch by 3 inch aluminum planks for the hour lines and 4 inch aluminum pieces for the solstices and equinox lines. The hour lines are adjusted for longitude, with stainless steel Arabic numerals showing the time from 6am to 2pm at the bottom of each hour line. The gnomon is a 2 inch rod 40 inches long with a 6-inch nodus ball set back slightly from the rod end. The gnomon is held to the wall by an 18 inch yellow sun.
 
 
Woodbridge Virginia USA Horizontal Dial 861
This horizontal dial sits on a low concrete dais 13 feet in diameter. At the interior is an oculus 3 feet in diameter with loose gravel from which a 10-inch I-beam gnomon emerges. The I-Beam extends approximately 4 feet into the air with the north end cut vertical to the ground and then canted back creating a graceful taper on the underside. The dais concrete is of two colors: an inner pink ring 9 feet in diameter and an outer earth-toned ring that serves as a 2 foot wide chapter ring.