Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Selected Sundials of Pennsylvania

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

Farrell Pennsylvania USA Sculpture Dial 519
"Rising Rings" is a cast iron band 11 feet high by 17 feet in diameter with a hole that casts a beam of light onto a central ring monument on the equinoxes. The dial was commissioned by Dr. Swraj Paul, a steel mill owner, to honor his daughter Ambika who died in 1968 of leukemia at age four. This monument honors the inspiration her joy of life instilled in her father. At the central of the dial is a cast iron ring that holds a bronze image of her that is illuminated for several days twice a year. On two dates, Ambika's birthday and the anniversary of the mill's re-opening the noon sunlight passes through the circular opening in the larger ring and strikes markers on the inner ring. Miklos Simon created the portrait of Ambika mounted on the smaller ring.
Flagstaff Arizona USA Horizontal Dial 2
Small horizontal dial on carved pedestal. It was a gift from the observatory staff to Dr. Lowell. In a thank you note to his staff, Lowell stated, "Nothing could have pleased me more than that Sundial clothed with its mountain cloak, symbolic of when the sun always shines. It shall be inscribed with all your names and set up on the top of Mars Hill." A square stone base supports a tapering cylindrical column. At the top is a square plinth supporting the small horizontal dial. As of March 1996, the dial has resided inside the observatory building.
Flagstaff Arizona USA Horizontal Dial 3
Built by Dr. Art Adel (now deceased). Contact Mrs. Adel to arrange viewing.
Flagstaff Arizona USA Horizontal Dial 313
This cast iron horizontal dial is set in a 6 foot diameter limestone base 2 feet off the ground. The interior region of the dial face is a white tile mosaic. The gnomon has pictures of buffalo and a horned lizard done in relief. The edge of the dial is a cast iron ring, upon which are four cardinal points and hour markers from 5am to 7pm, likewise in cast iron. The dial is corrected to mountain standard time.
Flemington New Jersey USA Combination Dial 565
A 12x9-inch combination equatorial and polar dial made of stainless steel and titanium. Solstice and equinox lines are shown on the polar dial face. This sundial is located in the park behind the old county courthouse where the Lindburgh baby kidnapping trail was held.
Flemington New Jersey USA Horizontal Dial 355
Horizontal dial with an intricately hand cut stainless steel gnomon with a cast bronze dial face. The shadow casting style is the lower edge of the large gnomon. A second short gnomon indicates solstice and equinox dates. Dial sits atop a 700 lb stone pedestal base.
Fort Union New Mexico USA Combination Dial 393
A 2 foot square stone horizontal dial on a four foot high stone pedestal with vertical dials on its faces. This dial has been removed, replaced and relocated several times. The original gnomon was lost and replaced with an incorrect 45° gnomon, which has been replaced again with a steel gnomon that appears to be at slightly less than the correct latitude angle. All vertical dial gnomons are missing. The dial and a nearby inscribed stone are on the grounds of the Third Fort Union (1863-1891). The stone dial surfaces are worn from weather, but the Arabic hour numerals are still visible.
Fort Wayne Indiana USA Horizontal Dial 677
A 15 foot diameter stone and cement horizontal dial with a painted steel gnomon. 6 AM to 6 PM hour markers have Arabic numerals. Interior area of dial is filled with crushed rock. A plaque provides EOT and longitude corrections and instructions. This dial was an Eagle Scout project built for this elementary school for use in science lesson plans. Dial sits within a two-course stone perimeter pedestal.
Foxboro Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial 43
Very large vertical dial mounted above the entrance to the Foxboro Research Center. With solstice and equinox lines and a noon analemma.
Frankenmuth Michigan USA Equatorial Dial 194
This monument sundial is an Erickson equatorial polar dial 6 feet in diameter made of light granite with a 3 inch steel rod as gnomon. Time is graduated by hour, half-hour, quarter hours and 5 minute marks over 24 hours. Noon is at the bottom, matching the 105 degree meridian. Designed to be read from the upper surface in Spring/Summer, from the under side in Fall/Winter. Unlike other Erickson dials, the Equation of Time plaque is presented in a circular arc on the ground. Photographs courtesy David Wright, Director, Frankenmuth Parks & Recreation.
Frankfort Kentucky USA Horizontal Dial 90
The Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial features a 7090 square foot plaza with a monumental 86x68 foot horizontal dial of granite slabs with a 14.6 foot high gnomon of welded stainless steel plates. The dial design places the shadow of the tip of the gnomon on each of 1103 veteran's names on the anniversary of his or her death. MIA names are engraved in an area where the shadow never falls. The dial face identifies one hour of time for each year of the 1962-1975 Vietnam War. The 327 granite slabs from the Pyramid Blue quarry in Elberton, Georgia are a maximum of 12x3 feet, are 4 inches thick and are placed atop 800 concrete piers 28 inches high to provide drainage and protection from frost heaving.
Franklin Center Pennsylvania USA Equatorial Dial 139
A modernistic equatorial dial about 6 feet in diameter. The analemma shaped gnomon casts Eastern standard time onto a wide metal semicircle band. The hours with 10-minute marks are inscribed on the center of the equatorial band. This unique sundial tells the time, indicates the approximate day of the month and projects the zodiacal constellation signs as they are aligned with the sun and the earth in this era. It is accurate to within two minutes.
Fredericksburg Virginia USA Horizontal Dial 193
A 7 inch diameter brass horizontal dial with 3.5 inch high brass gnomon on a weathered octagonal stone pedestal. Reported to be contemporary with Mary Ball Washington's occupancy of this house in the 1780s. Dial sits atop a stone pillar.
Fredericton New Brunswick Canada Vertical Declining Dial 397
A vertical declining dial 7 x 7 feet with parged cement face and 5 foot wrought iron gnomon. Plaque on wall reads "The sundial at the top of this wall is a faithful reconstruction of the original which Frederictonians used during the 1800s and early 1900s. The shadow cast by the gnomon (style) onto the dial accurately displays local apparent solar time." An equation of Time is included on the plaque to determine mean time. The date of the original construction of this sundial is not known, but the Soldiers Barracks were built in 1826. The dial was restored in 1992.
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.
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.
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.
Gaithersburg Maryland USA Compound Polar Dial 51
Briggs Commemorative Sundial. One of the more complex and elaborate ones in the US. The dial plate lies parallel to the earth's axis of rotation. The dial has three gnomons. The upper and lower point out Eastern Standard time, the middle one indicates local apparent (solar) time throughout the year. A copy of the brochure is in the NASS Archives.
Gallup New Mexico USA Horizontal Dial 568
An 18 inch diameter horizontal dial of welded steel with a naturally weathered rusty brown finish. The hour lines are corrected for longitude and summer and winter solstice lines are shown.
Galveston Texas USA Equatorial Dial 318
This is an equatorial dial 3 x 4 feet tall, set up for the latitude and longitude of Galveston Texas. Corrections for the Equation of Time are cut as an analemma into the broad gnomon that rotates on a polar rod. The Equatorial time ring has hour lines viewed as standard time or DST at 5 minute intervals. The dial started when one of the Galveston residents constructed a park to honor his grand father. Bill Swann proposed to put a dial in one corner. His friend liked the idea. The park architect wanted the dial to be long lasting and suggested that it be made of galvanized steel. The dial is made out of rolled flat bar with a cross section of 3/4 x 4 inches. The dial itself was patterned after a dial which was located at Swann's college campus- Vanderbilt University. That dial was designed by the late Professor Dillard Jacobs. While Swann did not remember the specifics of that dial, the memory of it set the quest to decipher the suns orbit for this Galveston sundial. The time is displayed from a shadow cast onto a time ring. The "operator" pivots a plate, facing it toward the sun. The inscription on the plate reads "Face bar towards sun-Read time at month's shadow". The plate has a cutout in the shape of the analemma. Where the shadow cast by this cutout falls on the time ring specifies the time. Swann remembers that he "stayed out quite late one night to align the dial to a point in the sky near the north star." The sundial design is identical to the design of dial # 344 on the NASS web page. The metal forming techniques are different. Swann has been in contact with the designer, Peter Swanstrom.