Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Selected Sundials of District of Columbia

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

 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 880
This simple bronze sundial about 12 inches in diameter sits on a 3-foot fluted plinth made from Indiana limestone. Embossed hour lines extend from 5am to 7pm delineated every 15 minutes. Surrounding the hour chapter are Roman numerals with the noon hour marked by "0". The gnomon is very attractive, with a bird ensconced between the style and base. The dial was given to Howard University by the Lampados Club of Alpha Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in 1929 to honor Benjamin Banneker, 18th century astronomer, surveyor and executing architect of the District of Columbia.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Collection Dial 122
Smithsonian collection of dials
 
 
Washington DC USA Horizontal Dial 644
A bronze horizontal dial about 18 inches diameter on a cast concrete pedestal. Perimeter of dial includes three-dimensional cast replicas of roses and butterflies. Bronze gnomon includes replicas of butterfly, tightly-furled rose and leaf. Dial face has hour lines with Roman numerals and 15-minute marks and a sunburst at dial center. The dial rests on a cast concrete pedestal.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Vertical Dial 202
Vertical dial with bronze Roman numerals and trefoil pierced gnomon on square sandstone. Dial is on south facade over main entry, facing East Capitol Street. School is dated 1923. Elevation above entrance is approximately 30 ft. making dial hard to read. Large projecting towers place dial in shadow in early morning and late afternoon. Similar to McKinley High School dial (#207).
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 203
In the Bishop's garden is a weathered 13th C. capital on which sits a 41 cm diameter horizontal brass dial. It is engraved with "Tho Heath, London" and the year 1712. On the noon line is the indication "Hammersmith", a location on the (then) outskirts of London at 51:30N 0:14W. Heath is one of the Grocers' Company mathematical instrument makers Many of Heath's dials have a coat of arms.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 204
Horizontal dial about 16 inch square made of bronze. Gnomon is 4.125 inch high, 5 inch long. Below gnomon is motto, "Horas non numero nisi serenas" (I only count sunny hours). House was built in 1805 and is now open to the public as a museum. Years before this property was opened to the public, a family member brought this dial from Crossbasket Castle in Scotland, the family seat. The lengthy inscription is probably a later addition, since it is unlikely that they would be quoting Whittier in Scotland. The gnomon angle is 39? 30', probably made for the Washington DC location. However, the dial plate has a latitude of about 48? N, certainly not Scotland. What is the true origin of this dial?
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Armillary Dial 205
Very nicely armillary sphere about 3 ft. diameter, with equatorial, meridional and hour circles. Roman hour numerals from 5 AM to 7 PM. One of Washington DC's cleanest examples of a working armillary sphere. Erected by the Georgetown Garden Club in 1956 in tribute to Sarah Louisa Rittenhouse. Dial is placed atop a sandstone pillar.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Vertical Dial 206
Sandstone Vertical declining dial, with gnomon offset to account for it. Above doors to rear terrace of admissions building. Arabic hour numerals with half hour lines. Carved hourglasses on both sides frame the dial. Brass compass rose set into the brick terrace below suggests the general alignment of both house and dial.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Vertical Dial 207
Vertical bronze dial with Arabic numerals and long cast sunburst gnomon. On oblong sandstone. Dial is 60-80 feet up on an octagonal power plant smokestack. It is difficult to read, but safe from vandalism. School dated 1928. Similar to Eastern High School (#202).
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 208
Large, ground level horizontal dial 16 ft. in diameter with 49 in high stepped hollow painted-green metal gnomon that is 5 ft 16 in long. Roman hour numerals with hour lines from 4:30 AM to 9:30 PM. Gnomon structure recalls the much larger Indian observatory dials. An appropriate poetic passage, once bolted to the gnomon, has disappeared.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 210
Circular horizontal dial 20 in. diameter cast in bronze. Has Roman numerals at hours and 15 minute marks. Gnomon missing from dial, but kept by groundskeeper, as it will not stay in place. Was temporarily re-installed for the NASS tour in 1995. The dial is modern, honoring George Donald Meid for service to the National Academy. Dial is mounted atop a concrerte cylindrical post.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 218
Horizontal dial 12 in. square designed and built by David Shayt and David Todd of the Smithsonian Institution. Roman numerals, 5AM-7PM. Subdivided into 15 minute increments. Also has compass rose. Dial sits atop a rectangular granite pedestal.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Analemma Dial 491
With a bit of whimsy at the end of each day for over two years, Dr. James Griffith marked the position of a ray of sunlight on a wall that entered from a west window overlooking the Potomac river. The result is an analemma, tracing the sun's position at 4:10 pm E.S.T. throughout the seasons. Dr. Griffith was a chemist, but as written on a plaque next to the analemma, "Exactly what this has to do with chemistry per se is not perfectly clear, but Viva Principia Scientifica!" Photos may be seen on Walt Sanford's web site.
 
 
Washington Crossing New Jersey USA Horizontal Dial 164
A 13-inch diameter horizontal dial made of iron. The dial has hour lines from 5am to 7pm, marked with Roman numerals. The gnomon is of unusual design. Set at 45 degrees, the style is supported by the profile of an eagle, head facing northward, and tail tapering to the southern point of the style. The base is a square pedestal, cobbled of stone and mortar. At top is a stone cut square to hold the dial.
 
 
Waterbury Connecticut USA Armillary Dial 757
A 24 inch diameter armillary with meridian, horizon, equatorial, tropic, Arctic and Antarctic rings. Equatorial ring is engraved with Roman hour numerals. The dial is supported on a narrow 4 foot tall granite pedestal. The pedestal includes a plaque with an EOT graph and is inscribed to indicate the dial is the Class Gift of 2010.
 
 
Watertown Connecticut USA Vertical Dial 32
Norman Bliss, who reported this dial, taught astronomy at Taft School for many years. He challenged students to find this abstract dial. The dial no longer exists and was destroyed when the building was demolished.
 
 
Watertown New York USA Vertical Dial 442
The vertical dial is on one face of a ornamental rectangular display raised on pole at the edge of the street at Key Bank Clock Plaza. The dial is approximately 2-foot square with an ornate gnomon having a "key" cutout. The dial was moved from another location to the present pole and restored. The dial is made of copper or bronze. Nearby is a plaque with the equation of time. Dedicated May 15, 1967.
 
 
Watkins Glen New York USA Horizontal Dial 517
A simple horizontal dial made of slate with a copper gnomon. Hour lines are brass rods artfully arranged from 6am to 6pm. The hour lines are corrected for longitude.
 
 
Waukesha Wisconsin USA Horizontal Dial 512
A large horizontal dial in a circular plaza made of tan concrete and red brick. The concrete gnomon stands about 16 feet tall. No hour lines are drawn on the plaza, but the hours are set in a circular ring at the edge of the plaza.
 
 
Weaton Illinois USA Horizontal Dial 589
Horizontal dial with 20 foot stainless steel gnomon. On the ground (dial face) are hour lines, analemma, date, and time before sunset. Built to commemorate DuPage County residents killed in military conflicts.