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 Armillary Dial 79
An armillary dial 55 in. diameter designed by L. Gordon Plummer. Rings made of 1/75x2 in. hollow steel hoops. Possibly gone now. Member Woody Sullivan unsuccessfully attempted to locate this dial in 1992.
 
 
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 Juan Puerto Rico USA Vertical Dial 349
A round pillar supports a rock cube with vertical dials on all four faces. This is one of the oldest in the Americas, erected by the Spanish around 1645 during the rule of Fernando de la Riva y Aguero. The vertical dial cube was crowned with a weather vane on top. This sundial was the first to be installed in the Antilles and was probably the second sundial to be placed in the New World.
 
 
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.
 
 
San Ygnacio Texas USA Equatorial Dial 571
A stone equatorial dial with an iron gnomon. Inscribed on both sides with hour lines. Placed above an entrance to a walled fort also built in 1851. Legend says Jose Villarreal designed and built the dial to celebrate his escape in 1820 as a child after capture by Lipan Apache Indians and being guided by the north star in his return home. Dial Recorder Mary Garza is the great-great-granddaughter of Jose Villarreal.
 
 
Sandwich Massachusetts USA Armillary Dial 175
Bronze armillary dial about 40 inches in diameter. Has polar and meridional circles, with smaller ones at north and south poles. Gnomon is 1 inch in diameter. Dial is mounted on a wedge atop an octagonal stone pedesta. To enter Heritage Plantation there is a fee. For information phone 508-888-3300.
 
 
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
 
 
Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Pillar Dial 348
At the upper end of a tapering pillar is a rock cube with vertical dials on two faces. The dial was erected during the administration of Francisco Rubio y Pernaranda around 1753 in front of the Governor's Palace and was used during the centuries of Spanish rule as the official marker of time. An equatorial dial was placed on top of the cube probably around 1787 and was later broken off by a hurricane. In 1992, as part of the Fifth Centennial Discovery activities, the equatorial dial was reinstalled on top. Dial sits atop a mortar or rock block.
 
 
Saratoga Springs New York USA Horizontal Dial 532
A marble horizontal dial on marble sculpture pedestal. The original bronze Treble Cleft gnomon is now missing.