Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Selected Sundials of California

Click on any photo or city name to get more sundial details and more photos.

Arcata California USA Armillary Dial 192
Armillary dial with horizon ring 4 ft. 4.5 in. diameter designed by Ken Lynch. Dial is made of brass and horizon ring has signs of the zodiac on it. Mounted at ground level with a separate plaque with Equation of Time. After the dial was installed the university ordered the point on the end of the gnomon sawed off. It was feared that someone might become impaled on it. Gift of Harvy S. Kieval, Professor Emeritus - Math.
Berkeley California USA Horizontal Dial 16
A 16 inch diameter horizontal dial made of bronze. Gnomon is 8 in. long, 5 in. high. A classic horizontal dial on a 4 foot marble pedestal. Donated in 1915 by Class of 1877. Includes EOT table by date. The dial sits atop a marble pedestal.
Berkeley California USA Armillary Dial 612
A bronze armillary sphere dial on a quarried stone pedestal. The equatorial ring includes hour lines with 15-minute marks and Roman numerals.
Berkeley California USA Horizontal Dial 422
At the edge of the bay is a round horizontal sundial about 10 feet in diameter with a stark triangular gnomon. Both gnomon and dial base are of hammered concrete. The base rises above the ground by about 2 feet where Arabic numbers encircle the dial to tell the hours. The dial face is not quite level, perhaps to help with water runoff.
Berkeley California USA Statue Dial 423
This is a large granite statue by Richard O'hanlon entitled "Sunstone II" and was designed in collaboration with astronomer David Cudaback. A north-south large polished granite slab has the top cut at the latitude of 38 degrees to sight the North Star. A hole in the stone allows east or west viewing, with limiting angles designed to show the extent of maximum planetary and lunar wandering. An east-west stone crosses the north side of the granite slab, allowing light to pass only at noontime onto a heel stone with marks for Equinox and Solstice. Access by admission to the Hall of Science museum
Capitola California USA Equatorial Dial 786
A wrought iron equatorial dial with an arrow rod gnomon. Equatorial band and support have iron scroll work depicting a bow and arrow. Dial is painted and hour numerals are obscured.
Carlsbad California USA Vertical Dial 734
A large vertical dial on an east-declining south stucco wall of an elevator tower in the parking lot of McClellan Airport. The gnomon, hour and declination lines and Arabic numerals are stainless steel. The dial design is flawed, incorrect for either a point-in-space nodus dial or a polar-inclined gnomon dial. The installed gnomon is horizontal but if intended to support only a nodus, the location is wrong; the nodus shadow is outside the lower declination line in the photos. The hour lines radiate from the gnomon base as for a polar-inclined gnomon; they should radiate from a point much higher if for a point-in-space nodus.
Carmel California USA Equatorial Dial 179
A simple 12 inch diameter equatorial ring dial of rusted steel on a cast iron base bolted to a brick floor. This replacement dial has Arabic numerals and the base has Zodiacal symbols. The original "Sundial Lodge" was renovated as a boutique hotel but during the construction the original horizontal dial was lost. The original horizontal dial was about 16 in. diameter, made of bronze with a circular plate with Roman numerals on a plain concrete column and displayed the inscription, "Count none but the sunny hours."
Claremont California USA Equatorial Dial 505
A 90 inch diameter spherical segment equatorial dial ten feet high of masonry construction with 3D fiberglass analemmic gnomon 40 inches long. Dial terrazzo face has hour, half-hour, quarter-hour and 5-minute marks with Roman hour numerals for PST. The 5-minute marks are one inch apart. Dial face includes analemma graphic with month dates; a plaque describes how to use the analemma graphic to select which side of the gnomon shadow to use to read time. Base perimeter has 12 ceramic plaques with Zodiacal signs. Indicated time is accurate to one minute throughout the winter and to five minutes in summer. This is remarkable because the dial is located just outside a children's playground and children routinely climb on the dial and swing from the gnomon. An animation from digital images showing the gnomon shadow motion over the course of a full year is available. Dedicated as the Ralph B. Larkin Memorial Sundial. Rev. Larkin was a retired missionary who taught science to children for 17 years in Claremont. Dr. Larkin's father was Edgar Lucien Larkin, Director of the Mt. Lowe Observatory above Los Angeles 1900-1924 using a 16-inch Alvan Clark refractor telescope, described by Alvan Clark as, "the finest telescope I ever made." Ralph Larkin often said, "I grew up with a telescope." The Mt. Lowe Observatory was destroyed in a windstorm in 1928 and the Alvan Clark refractor was moved to Ricard Observatory at the University of Santa Clara, California.
Coalinga California USA Horizontal Dial 764
A 26 inch diameter hand-carved, lacquer-coated beige sandstone horizontal dial set flush in a massive cast concrete pedestal. Dial has a thick stone gnomon, hour, half-hour and quarter-hour lines with Arabic ST hour numerals corrected for longitude. Face is marked with symbols showing sunrise and sunset times on solstices and equinoxes and with location coordinates. Dial face includes a hand carved graphic of a Valley Oak tree, symbolic of the San Joaquin Valley dial location. The dial is embedded in a three foot cube cast concrete pedestal bearing a bas relief image of a horned toad, mascot of the Coalinga High School and the city centennial dates 1906 - 2006.
Colma California USA Horizontal Dial 21
This large ground-level horizontal dial is 50 ft. diameter. Formerly a floral dial with a cypress tree as gnomon and hour lines crafted out of plants such as santilina shrubs, during the 1960's the dial was changed to concrete and aluminum.
Culver City California USA Equatorial Dial 536
Located near the edge of a hill in Culver Park, this dial commands a fine view of the surrounding communities. The equatorial dial face is a six foot diameter, six inch thick brass ring supported by a 24 foot long steel gnomon six inches in diameter. The gnomon is anchored in a concrete oval-shaped base covered with tile and mosaics. The base and three surrounding water-drop shape ovals are inscribed with the word "Time" in the 12 languages spoken in Culver City. Ballona Creek, visible from the sundial, once provided transportation, food and recreation for a thriving native American population and later for Spanish-origin ranch owners. The dial north face has the 1:00 hour line at the bottom for Daylight Savings Time while the south face has the 12:00 hour line at the bottom for standard time. A bronze plaque states time is read from the center of the gnomon shadow and briefly discusses the equation of time. The dial is not longitude corrected and indicates local apparent time.
Death Valley California USA Vertical Dial 76
Prospector and con man Walter Scott convinced Chicago millionaire Albert Johnson to invest in his gold mine in the Death Valley area. The mine was a fraud, but Johnson began building his Spanish Revival Villa in 1922 that continued until the stock market crash of 1929. Martin de Dubovay was the architect, Mat Roy Thompson was the engineer and head of construction, and Charles Alexander MacNeilledge was the designer
El Cajon California USA Armillary Dial 214
Armillary dial about 3 ft. diameter designed by Don LeGrande. As of Christmas 1992, a stunning armillary sphere-type of sundial ... The framework of the dial is constructed of burnished stainless steel. ... The rod-like gnomon was destroyed by vandals many years ago, but the rest is in good shape.
Fullerton California USA Horizontal Dial 529
This 18-inch cast bronze horizontal dial is located in front of Heritage House, the relocated office and home of early Fullerton physician Dr. George C. Clark. The gnomon edge is tapered to a single style. Dial sits atop a cylindrical cast concrete pedestal 28-inches high.
Huntington Beach California USA Vertical Dial 78
A 7x8 foot direct south facing vertical dial of wood with metal gnomon on the masonry stucco side of a fire station building. Hour lines are painted on wood planks bolted to the side of the building. Metal Arabic DST hour numerals are mounted to the wood planks. Longitude correction is not included and there is no EOT correction or instructions offered but dial is accurate when both corrections are applied. When built in 1978, the hour numerals marked Standard Time; when rebuilt sometime before 2010, the new hour numerals now mark daylight saving time. The fire station building wall declines approximately 18.5? east of south but the wall area holding the dial has been built out to correct (perhaps not quite enough) this angle.
Joshua Tree California USA Armillary Dial 625
A 5 foot diameter steel armillary sphere with 6 foot gnomon rod. Inner surface of equatorial ring has cast Roman numerals; outer surface has cast Zodiac signs colored gold. Sphere is supported by 13 inch high four-flange base. Dial sits on a 42 inch high cast concrete cylindrical base.
La Canada California USA Equatorial Dial 881
The bronze equatorial dial is about 24" diameter, and has equatorial, meridian and horizon rings. It sits on top of a stone pedestal. The equatorial ring is supported by 24 spokes, spaced at 15 degrees. Around the rim 24 hour numerals in Arabic. The twelve signs of the zodiac are spaced every other hour on the equatorial rim. The orientation to true north and inclination were verified to be correct for the site. The sundial was a gift from the Kresser Smith family to the Descanso Gardens Guild in 1987 on the occasion of the guild's 30th anniversary.
Los Altos California USA Gnomonic Dial 498
A triangular entry canopy 13 feet height by 128 feet wide by 26 feet deep at the Georgina Blach Intermediate School casts a shadow on the front pavement walkway. The pavement is etched with a gnomonic projection to show the hours and seasons. The dial was created by architects Lisa Gelfand and Andrew Davis who did considerable research for the dial. Their design was submitted to the school district for approval. It's a fun sundial and the students and teachers love it.
Los Angeles California USA Vertical Dial 17
A vertical dial on a large granite cube. Similar to the one in Bloomfield CT. Both dials were made for CIGNA Insurance Co.