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.

Los Angeles California USA Sculpture Dial 309
A sundial sculpture by Martha Oathout Ayers. More information about this dial is needed.
Los Angeles California USA Equatorial Dial 77
A bronze equatorial ring dial with taut wire gnomon on concrete pedestal. Ring is inscribed with hour, ten-minute and minute lines. Plaque states the dial indicates correct watch time so observatory staff periodically rotates clamped ring to correct for EOT, longitude and DST. Dial is located adjacent to the Astronomers Monument atop which is a large bronze armillary. The monument recognizes Hipparchus, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Hershel. The sundial was originally built into the base of the Astronomers Monument but was relocated a few feet to the south during the 2002-2006 remodeling to allow visitors to more closely approach the dial. The dial sits atop a concrete pedestal.
Los Angeles California USA Calendrical Dial 593
A bronze-faced meridian arc dial 18 feet long, 13.5 feet high and 7 inch wide. Displays the meridian line and is inscribed with month and day markings, seasonal and lunar indicators and constellation figures. An overhead lens projects a solar image on the inscriptions. A large adjacent symbol is positioned to indicate which set of date markings is to be read from the meridian line. In a modern twist, photoelectric sensors embedded in the face of the arc are activated by the transiting spot of sunlight and send a signal to illuminate LED indicators on the 22 foot wide stainless steel ecliptic chart overhead, lighting up the stars of the constellation through which the sun is passing.
Mount Laguna California USA Equatorial Dial 170
The odd bowl-shape of this equatorial dial designed and built by C.T. and W.M Thwaites shows a reversed engraved map of the world. A horizontal bar across the bowl has a small metal nib which points out the time of the day (top and bottom for standard and daylight times) and also indicates the spot on the world where the Sun is currently directly overhead. On full Moon nights, this dial has been used to effectively tell time and show the position of the Moon over the Earth as well.
Oakland California USA Sculpture Dial 307
Bronze sundial sculpture by Robert Paine. The sundial was donated to University High School in 1927 by Sara Bard Field in honor of her son Albert, who was killed in 1917 in an automobile accident. Albert was the high school senior class president in 1917. His mother Sara was a leading suffragist on the West Coast. The High School has been renovated and now used by Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). The sculpture is of a boy holding a shield and an arrow. The arrow casts a graceful shadow onto the level shield. The sculpture is about 30 inches high. The base is stone, probably a jade.
Oakland California USA Projection Dial 613
One of Bill Gottesman's unique-design Renaissance dials of cast and structural bronze with a 27 inch diameter helix with a celestial-north aligned axis. Time is told by a focused beam of light that moves around the helix throughout the day. The light beam is reflected from a long cylindrical unsilvered mirror in a structure that supports the helix. A sliding time scale within the helix can be adjusted for EOT and DST and includes longitude correction. Once this scale is adjusted for date, the dial shows civil, or clock, time. The dial base is cast bronze allowing adjustment for latitude and placed on a concrete pedestal.
Oakland California USA Horizontal Dial 236
Large horizontal dial, with steel gnomon 22 ft. long, 14 ft. high. Constructed of three welded pieces of 2-inch thick steel plate, the dial sits in a courtyard. There are no hour lines, only hour markers are placed on the lawn and brick patio around the dial. EOT values for every 5 days are shown on the north face of the support.
Palo Alto California USA Vertical Dial 482
A vertical declining dial approximately 45 x 55 inches. Made of aluminum and brass. Shows the hours from 8 am to 5 pm using analemmas. Analemmas are bounded by the summer and winter solstices and a straight line through them shows the equinox. Daylight time is shown using Roman numerals, with standard time shown in Arabic. In keeping with the motto, a simple equation is written on the dial face, d/dt is not equal 0. Designer Ronald Bracewell used an oculus, a disk with a central hole, standing 8 cm in front of the dial face. The disk casts a shadow with a bright sunlight dot to indicate both time and season. Hour lines include longitude correction. This has been relocated; it was previously hanging free below a south facing wall, facing the Terman Engineering Building. Dial is now located on the wall of a covered walkway area.
Palos Verdes Estates California USA Armillary Dial 740
A 1.5 meter diameter bronze armillary sphere atop a beige stone pedestal at the center of a 9 meter diameter pond or fountain. The Armillary includes meridian, equatorial and horizon rings as well as Arctic and Antarctic circles. The equatorial ring is perforated with Roman hour numerals and Zodiacal symbols. The central gnomon rod has a ball at the north end and an arrow tail at the south end.
Pasadena California USA Analemmatic Dial 643
A 14x8 foot analemmatic dial with an 8x2 foot gnomon-positioning calendar plinth. The dial is installed in the pebble and concrete patio of the Winnett Student Center. The hour markers and calendar line plinth are made of Granodiorite of Knowles, a muscovite-bearing biotite granodiorite rock quarried from Knowles Quarry at Raymond, California. A nearby wall plaque provides longitude and EOT correction. The dial is a gift from the Caltech Alumni Association as a sculpture, a public artwork and a scientific instrument. This dial is located on the private university campus but the public may walk on the campus grounds to view the dial.
Redding California USA Horizontal Dial 518
When is a bridge not a bridge? When it's almost a sundial. The 217 foot high suspension span called Sundial Bridge wants to be a sundial, and has come very close. The suspension pylon is aligned true north, but unfortunately performs as an inaccurate gnomon with an inclination of 49 deg (for bridge functionality) rather than for the 40.6 deg latitude of the site. The bridge is 700 feet long and weighs 1,600 tons. Funding for the bridge comes from the McConnell Foundation, Redding Redevelopment Agency, Federal Highway Administration, and Turtle Bay Exploration Park
Redlands California USA Equatorial Dial 293
Equatorial dial designed by Russ Busher. A semicircle of metal, pierced with numerals. Sun shines through numerals onto metal plate with vertical line mounted below. Semicircle in equatorial plane, plate in polar plane. Such a dial is frequently advertized in "Wind and Weather" catalog. Placed atop a wooden post.
Redlands California USA Vertical Dial 658
A 60x40 foot vertical dial of stucco, wood and brass, filling the south exterior wall of the building. Roman hour numerals show PST; Arabic hour numerals show PDT. Summer and winter solstice and the equinox lines are shown; the shadow of a nodus on the gnomon indicates the date. Dr. Nordgren explains that the shadow of the 10-inch diameter nodus "is just the right size to take into account periods when sundials are fast or slow relative to clock time. When dials run their slowest, the leading edge of the nodus shadow gives the accurate time. During periods when dials run their fastest the trailing edge gives the accurate time." Dr. Nordgren was among the seven designers of the sundials used on the NASA Mars Rovers in 2004.
Ridgecrest California USA Analemmatic Dial 679
A 20x15 foot axis analemmatic dial built of cement hour posts, metal markers and tile and lava rock on the high desert floor outside the museum building.
Riverside California USA Equatorial Dial 18
An equatorial dial 47 inches in diameter made of stainless steel. It sits upon four sleek pillars setting on a concrete rise. The gnomon rod has a round disk with a hole to act as a nodus. The dial equatorial band has solstice and equinox lines, as well as a line showing the declination of the sun marked with by months and zodiac signs. Hour lines are marked by raised stainless steel Roman Numerals. Dial is corrected to Pacific Standard Time.
Rocklin California USA Vertical Dial 238
Small, circular 12.5 in. vertical dial mounted 56 in. above ground on the south wall of the library. Dial is aluminum mounted on concrete. Hour line missing from 6AM to gnomon base. Wall faces 26 degrees SW. Hour lines, numbered only at 6, 9, 12, 3 and 6. Two memorial plaques adjacent to dial. One reads 'Sierra College Honors/ E. R. 'Russ' Fallon/ for Dedicated Services/ Building Inspector/ Building and Grounds Supervisor/ 1959-1975'. Other reads 'In Admiration and Fond Memory/ of Our Colleague/ Dwight Hall/ 1927-1972/ by the/ Academic Senate and Friends/ at Sierra College.'
San Bernardino California USA Horizontal Dial 188
A 23 inch diameter horizontal bronze dial with 12 inch high gnomon and with hour, half-hour and quarter-hour lines from 5:30 AM to 7:30 PM and Roman hour numerals from 5 AM to 7 PM. Dial sits atop a 27 inch diameter stone pedestal 37.5 inch high.
San Carlos California USA Vertical Dial 424
This vertical dial is approximately 4 foot high by 6 foot long, mounted on the end wall of a house that can be publicly viewed. Dial has hour lines and lines marking the equator and solstice shadow limits. Made of wood and brass.
San Diego California USA Vertical Dial 19
Above the southwest entrance of the Chemistry-Geology Building is a vertical declining dial built by Richard L. Threet in 1979. The dial uses thin aluminum tubing as a gnomon to cast shadows on a ring of hour and half hour lines approximately 9 feet in diameter. The lines were originally painted black on the white concrete wall with only the 9 am, 12 noon, 3 pm and 6 pm lines boldly numbered. Since then the dial has lost all but the 12. DIAL DESTROYED BY BUILDING REMODELING Per Richard Threet 12/2/2006
San Diego California USA Equatorial Dial 815
This broad band equatorial dial was dedicated in 1978 to George A. Koester, former Executive Dean of San Diego State University. The approximately 3-foot dial is on a brick pedestal situated on on a small dais. Concentric brick circles complete the large dial plaza.