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.

 
 
San Diego California USA Vertical Reclining Dial 80
This dial was originally owned and installed at Sea World in San Diego but was sold and purchased by Verlyn Kuhlmann. A 39 inch diameter reclining vertical dial of cast concrete with a 20 inch long steel gnomon. Dial reclines about 50°. Includes cast hour lines with Arabic numerals and longitude correction. A separate plaque provides instructions and an EOT graph. The dial is mounted on a 24 inch square aluminum base plate and short column support.
 
 
San Diego California USA Horizontal Dial 213
This is not the Koester dial at SDSU, but a far more interesting horizontal dial originally dedicated to the San Diego Normal School for elementary teaching by the class of June, 1911. The 18-inch octagonal bronze dial was originally designed by San Diego Clock maker Joseph Jessop and mounted on a miniature Doric column. The dial was placed within the circular lawn directly in front of the school's main entrance at the intersection of Park and El Cajon Boulevards.
 
 
San Francisco California USA Vertical Recliner Dial 20
Known as the "Navigators' Dial", this sundial is dedicated to three early explorers of the California coast. The dial itself is a sliced bronze globe of the earth sitting on the back of a tortoise. Overall, the globe hemisphere is about 2 1/2 feet in diameter, showing the world in relief centered on California. The flat face of the hemisphere is a beautiful vertical reclining dial. The dial sits atop a stone column. DIAL HAS BEEN REMOVED during remodeling of the De Young art museum - Apr 2002
 
 
San Francisco California USA Horizontal Dial 82
Built in 1913 as a promotion for a housing development that was once a racetrack, this dial boasted (incorrectly) that at 34 feet in diameter and 28 foot gnomon it was the largest dial in the United States. Nevertheless it gathered much publicity and newspaper articles of the day showed young girls dancing around a small pool that surrounded the gnomon. Bronze statues of porpoise were said to be in the pool. Today the statues are gone and the pool is green painted cement. Still, an interesting dial to visit.
 
 
San Francisco California USA Horizontal Dial 417
A plain but nicely done brass horizontal dial about 2 feet in diameter mounted on a simple concrete pedestal. The dial is in good condition, but about 50 degrees out of alignment.
 
 
San Francisco California USA Stone Sculpture Dial 418
This is a 16 ton granite statue by Richard O'Hanlon entitled "Sunstone I" and was designed in collaboration with astronomer David Cudaback. A small wall of rock with a round inlay of dark stone is supported high upon two tall vertical slabs of granite. At the back is a "heel stone" with marks to show where the sunlight strikes at the Equinox and Solstice.
 
 
San Francisco California USA Horizontal Dial 419
Hilltop Park was built by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency in 1987. The Landscape Architect was Michael Painter and Associates. Here is a giant sundial 70 feet in diameter with a bright yellow painted steel gnomon 78 feet long. The dial has a cement base and was designed to be used as the stage for a surrounding amphitheater. Dial shows wear and abuse, with graffiti covering the lower portion of the gnomon. Still, it is awe inspiring.
 
 
San Francisco California USA Horizontal Dial 420
A small 10-inch cast iron dial from England honors Shakespeare in a garden of the same name. The dial is on a small pedestal in the middle of the courtyard walkway and surrounded by trees. Lovely, but many shadows pass over the dial during the day. The dial plate was made for latitude 54 degrees. The gnomon appears to have been cut down to accommodate the 38 degrees for San Francisco. This "hack" method of correcting a sundial does not give correct time.
 
 
San Francisco California USA Vertical Dial 421
Dial is on an outside wall above the entrance to a private residence. The dial was designed by Stan Musilek. The dial back is made out of galvanized steel. Metal rails indicate the hours. Instead of Arabic or Roman numerals, the proper number of steel balls indicate the time of each hour. Overall, the dial is 4 by 6 feet.
 
 
San Ramon California USA Bow-String Equatorial Dial 726
This 5 x 5 x 6.5 foot stainless steel bow-string equatorial sundial is a precise heliochronometer with internal cam mechanism to correct for the Equation of Time. This exceptional dial is made of welded stainless steel sheet and weighs 330 pounds according to the designer Lee Palmer Stephenson. The dial face of the 60 inch diameter equatorial ring is marked with hour, half-hour, 15 minute, 5 minute and one minute lines and Arabic hour numerals showing PST and PDT.
 
 
Santa Barbara California USA Equatorial Dial 232
A small bronze equatorial dial made by Victor E. Edwards in the 1920's. It has an unusual crescent shaped arm with notch at the upper end. The arm is rotated until sunlight through the notch strikes an analemma on the lower inner curve of the crescent. Time is then read on a circular dial from an "hour hand" pointer extending from the base of the crescent. The dial is mounted on a granite pedestal with spherical top 21 inch high.
 
 
Santa Clara California USA Equatorial Dial 774
A 5 foot 9 inch wide cast bronze ring equatorial dial on a low brick mortared pedestal. The full semicircular hour ring has hour, half-hour, fifteen minute and 5 minute marks, and Roman hour numerals. The dial is lightly patinated and has a central gnomon rod with arrowhead.
 
 
Santa Cruz California USA Globe Dial 824
This is a globe dial with a twist: a glass sphere is used to represent the earth with continent lines scribed on the globe along with hour lines, analemma figure for each hour, tropic of cancer, tropic of capricorn, equator, and a line representing the local horizon. The globe is etched with the dial site at the globe's zenith. The dial has a central gnomon. When the shadow of a pointer falls on the gnomon the time is read using the correct side of the hour line analemma.
 
 
Santa Rosa California USA Equatorial Dial 476
An bronze equatorial dial about 2 feet in diameter. Stands in the middle of a Lotus flower
 
 
Sebastopol California USA Globe Dial 522
The sundial is a cement globe of the earth 28 inches in diameter inclined at 40 degrees, a bit off the site's 38' 20" N latitude. The globe is oriented with the site longitude on the upper meridian so that shadows across the globe represent the true sun angle at that moment. A rod through the globe casts a shadow onto the north polar regions in the summer. At the southern end is a small equatorial dial with hour lines from 8am to 4pm.
 
 
Sebastopol California USA Vertical Obelisk Dial 428
This is a vertical obelisk 3 foot on a side and 9 foot tall. It is more of a sun calendar than a sundial. The tip of the obelisk's shadow is tracked by marks on a concrete pad on the ground. The summer and winter solstices and equinoxes are indicated by tiles set in the pad.
 
 
Solvang California USA Vertical Dial 750
A cast or wrought iron vertical dial about 3 foot square painted black, prominently mounted at the roof line of the Royal Copenhagen Inn. The dial face has hour lines, half-hour marks and Roman hour numerals. The dial in not quite gnomonically correct as the building declines a few degrees west of south and the gnomon appears to be at 45? rather than 34.5?. The dial is visible from Mission Road. An interesting wind vane is seen on the roof peak above the dial.
 
 
Ukiah California USA Horizontal Dial 624
A horizontal dial of welded steel plate using weld bead for hour lines and numerals. Marked for PST.
 
 
Vallejo California USA Polar Dial 235
A 5 ft. aluminum polar dial. The gnomon has the profile of the Golden Gate Bridge. Dial was a gift from Vallejo's Sister city, Akashi, Japan.
 
 
Woodside California USA Horizontal Dial 558
A 15 inch diameter well-patinaed horizontal bronze dial on a stone pillar. This dial was designed for a different location. The hour lines are cut for 50? N; the gnomon angle is 46.5? and is miss-located on the dial face.