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.

 
 
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.
 
 
Vancouver British Columbia Canada Equatorial Dial 645
A 30 inch diameter bronze equatorial dial. A slot in the rotatable gnomon project a line of sunlight onto the equatorial ring displaying Arabic hour numerals. Dial is corrected for longitude. Dial is mounted on a 53 inch high stone pedestal. This dial is also known as the George Cunningham Memorial Sundial as it was sponsored by the Cunningham Drug Stores to commemorate the opening of their first store in 1911 at a nearby corner.
 
 
Vancouver British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 648
A large concrete and pebble horizontal dial with a 30 foot high gnomon. Hour lines are wood dividers in concrete with Roman numeral hour markers. Dial center and gnomon are situated in a lily pond. Dial is on private property but is fully visible from public street.
 
 
Vancouver Washington USA Equatorial Dial 659
A 2 meter diameter ring equatorial dial of welded anodized aluminum plate. The dial face shows Arabic numerals with hour and quarter-hour marks. This face can be moved for longitude correction and DST, and was originally adjusted to correct periodically for EOT. In 2009, the original straight gnomon was replaced with an analemmic gnomon, eliminating the need to adjust or correct for EOT.
 
 
Vancouver British Columbia Canada Vertical Dial 919
This bright and colorful vertical dial declines west, showing "Hours to Sunset" (Italian hours). The dial is held up by two posts on a board 60 x 90 cm (24 x 36 inches). The dial face is decorated in the colours of the rainbow, with a band of color for each hour left to sunset. Quarter hours are marked using thin white lines. The dial was commercially printed on aluminum-plastic laminated material, with a UV protective coating. The gnomon is a repurposed decorative gate hinge. The supporting structure is made from red cedar.
 
 
Vancouver British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 920
This is a 25 cm horizontal dial engraved on a 1/4 inch yellow metal plate (probably bronze). It shows local solar time. The hour marks look precise and consistent, but upon closer look are oddly arranged. The dialist attempted to shift the dial hour lines to correct for longitude (3.17 deg west). The AM hour lines are fairly accurate except the earliest hour lines (IV, V) which inconsistently meet the gnomon foot on the wrong side. The PM hour lines seem to mirror the AM lines except that 3 degrees had been added to each, rendering inaccurate time throughout the afternoon. The gnomon is slightly bent, and nearby buildings and trees block the dial at some times of day. The dial is decorated using simple geometric and visually pleasing patterns. Shallow engraving is used for the hour lines (making them a bit difficult to read), labels, and decoration. The gnomon has a bird engraved on each side and sits on a wedge base. The dial sits on a short granite pedestal with a polished top surface, and was commissioned by his parents in memory of Robert Carlyle Howard (born 1953, died 1970).
 
 
Vancouver British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 925
A delightful dial in a delightful setting, well worth the modest admission fee. It is an 18 inch patinated bronze disk mounted on an elegant white granite pedestal, with the hours adjusted to the time zone. The face is a finely crafted bas relief delineated in quarter hours, with the hours labeled using Roman numerals. The lower part of the dial shows the Arms of UBC, along with the leaves and flower spikes of a plant. In keeping with the medicinal purpose of a Physic Garden, the sculpted gnomon features a snake (a traditional symbol for a physician) entwined around a poison chalice (a traditional symbol for a pharmacist). A plaque on the pedestal dedicates the dial to Frank Ebenezer Buck, 1876 - 1970, UBC’s first Landscape Architect. The pedestal is from the 1920s, predating the dial, and was used elsewhere in the Botanical Gardens for their now-lost original sundial.
 
 
Vancouver British Columbia Canada Analemmatic Dial 927
The analemmatic sundial is laid within a 15-foot circle of light red concrete, set in the middle of a large grey concrete concourse on the south side of the school. Hour points are marked by 4-inch bronze disks embedded in the concrete; the declination scale is made of embedded tiles. The scale is red in part and blue in part, denoting the summer and winter periods. Correspondingly, each hour point hour is labeled twice; red for Daylight Saving Time and in blue for Standard Time. The dial incorporates a longitude correction for the time zone, and features Sunrise & Sunset Markers ("Bailey Points"). All labels were hand-painted by students - a deliberate measure intended to require occasional repainting and hence continued student engagement and involvement with the dial over the years.
 
 
Vancouver British Columbia Canada Equatorial Dial 931
A simple but elegant and well-executed bronze equatorial dial by renowned local sculptor Gerhard Class. It is about 24-inches in diameter and is mounted on a 16 x 16 x 36-inch plinth of nephrite jade, damaged at one corner. The gnomon has a central slit and can be rotated about the polar axis to create a narrow beam of light for precise reading of the sun's position. The dial shows local solar time plus one hour, corresponding to Daylight Saving Time. The dial's construction is technically perfect but, sadly, the dial appears to be misaligned with the gnomon axis pointing 7 deg west of north.
 
 
Vancouver British Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 932
This was once a very beautiful sundial sitting on a short concrete pedestal. Now it has a missing gnomon and the dial color is uniformly aquamarine except where the coating has been rubbed away to reveal a white substrate. Tapping the dial face makes a dull sound suggesting the dial is not metal and may be hollow. A possible explanation is that the dial could be made of some kind of cast resin or fiberglass and was then spray-painted. The dial face itself is elegantly sculpted into five sectors, showing clusters of flowers, berries and fruits, creating a pronounced 3D effect. Because of this, the hour lines are reduced to short ticks at the edge of the dial face. The dial shows solar hours, marked off using Roman numerals.
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 813
This brass horizontal sundial was designed and engraved for use in the town of Hope BC by British Royal Engineers in 1860. The circular dial is 8 inches diameter with a triangular gnomon. Time lines are engraved at 15 minute intervals from 4 am to 8 pm. The dial is on display in the museum beside other survey instruments and the red uniform of a Royal Engineers Sergeant.
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 572
A replica 12-inch bronze horizontal dial on a concrete plinth. This dial is a memorial for Marjorie Napier, a twelve-year-old St. Ann's student who died on 31 May, 1922. The original dial and limestone plinth were moved to Queenswood, a private retirement home for elderly nuns and seniors. A plaque for the replica dial reads, "In memory of Una Holm (Robertson) Class of 1928. Thank you the Sisters of St Ann's, the strength of Sister Eleanor Marie and the Rock which was St Ann's Academy. Replica sundial donated by husband Sandy E S A Holm and their daughter Karen Michaelson (Holm) Class of '53."
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Vertical Dial 575
A 30x20-inch vertical dial declining 7° 33' west of south made of granite inset in a stone wall. A memorial dial for Betty Whitlow commissioned by Dean Brian Whitlow. Inscribed, "IN MEMORIAM BETTY WHITLOW, UXOR MATER DELICTISIMUA, MCMXCVI." Information on EOT and longitude corrections are available just inside the south door of the cathedral.
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Analemmatic Dial 663
A 20 foot overall tinted concrete analemmatic dial with brass numerals, aluminum and granite slabs. Distance between major axis and small hour marks is 16.4 feet. Brass Roman numerals 10 inches high are set in a grey outer ring. Longitude and EOT corrections are marked beside the monthly date marks. A plaque commemorating the British Columbia 150 year celebration includes instructions on use and information on the dial designers and sponsors. Andrei Golovkine, a local designer and community activist conceived, designed and proposed the project to the sponsors. Dr. Dmitry Monin, an astrophysicist at the nearby NRC Herzberg Institute provided the gnomonic design.
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 924
A standard cast bronze sundial, 12 inches in diameter. It shows solar time with Roman numerals from V to VII with noon as XII. Also marked are the half and quarter hours. The hour lines and gnomon angle are correct for the latitude. The gnomon root is in the center of the circular casting in the center of the wind rose showing the cardinal directions.
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 752
A bronze horizontal dial with hour lines, quarter-hour marks and Roman hour numerals. Dial face includes a central compass rose. The dial sits atop a carved cedar totem depicting an Orca killer whale. The totem is carved in the Coastal Salish tradition by Aubrey LaFortune, a member of the Cowichan Band of native Canadians. The dial was commissioned by the Royal Club of Victoria and donated for the garden in 2001. Volunteers created the herb garden in 1999; all the gardens at Government House are maintained by volunteers.
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 753
A 12 inch diameter cast bronze horizontal dial with hour lines, quarter-hour marks and Roman hour numerals. Dial face includes a central compass rose with cardinal directions. Dial sits atop a cast concrete pedestal sculptured with curves, fronds and cherubs. Hatley Castle was the stately mansion for the Dunsmuir family, built in 1908 by James Dunsmuir, whose father Robert had built Craigdarroch Castle in downtown Victoria. This is one of numerous common-design sundials in Victoria.
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 754
A 9 inch diameter cast bronze dial with hour and half-hour marks and Roman hour numerals. The dial face has a compass rose at the center with cardinal and ordinal directions. The casting is of poor quality and the gnomon, brazed in place, is bent and at the wrong angle. The sundial is a monument to the Point Hope Shipyard. Engraved on one side is the history of the shipyard, the oldest in British Columbia, renovated and reopened in 2007. The cast dial pedestal is marked, "This newel post was saved from the demolition of St. Mary's Hospital, Victoria.
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 755
A 12 inch diameter cast bronze horizontal dial with hour lines, quarter-hour marks and Roman hour numerals. Dial face includes a central compass rose with cardinal directions. The dial sits atop a cast decorative concrete pedestal. The dial is correctly designed for the location and is one of at least seven such dials in the Victoria area.
 
 
Victoria British Columbia Canada Horizontal Dial 756
A 12 inch diameter cast bronze horizontal dial with hour lines, quarter-hour marks and Roman hour numerals. Dial face includes a central compass rose with cardinal directions; large characters inscribe RVYC and 1992. Dial sits atop a tapered mortared stone pedestal The pedestal carries two plaques displaying: A GIFT FROM THE MEMBERS OF 1992 TO THE MEMBERS OF 2092 and In Honour and Appreciation of the Visit of the Royal Patron of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club His Royal Highness The Duke of York KCVO ADC June 16, 2003