Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

NASS_2002_CarmichealAt the 2002 NASS Conference in Tucson AZ, Fred Sawyer presented the Sawyer Dialing Prize to John Carmichael.  Fred presented John with a trophy equatorial dial by Tony Moss and a certificate of appreciation for John’s work in recognition of his efforts to bring dialing to a high tech world and his demonstration that it is still possible in that world to prosper as a traditional craftsman of high quality heliochronometers.

John produces a wide variety of sundials, principally in stone and glass.  Many are on public display in parks while others are in private buildings and homes. Visit John’s website at to see the many dials he has produced.

In response to the award, John presented his paper on “Polar Axis Gnomons with Multiple Styles.”  In his talk, John outlined his idea for a project to use the structure of the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope as the gnomon for a sundial.  Although the telescope tube is at the correct polar angle for use as a gnomon, the design is complicated by its size and thickness.  The style width creates different shadows projected from different edges of the structure as the day passes and the fuzziness of the penumbral shadow complicates the reading of the time.