Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Sundials of North America

This is a complete listing of sundials in the North American Sundial Society Registry. Click on any dial thumbnail picture or city name to display our complete listing and images. To see sundials in a particular state or province, you may click on the list at left to see all registered sundials in that state, province or country (at bottom) displayed in city order.

 
 
Augusta Maine USA Horizontal Dial 872
This historic brass dial is about 18 inches in diameter, set upon a square, concrete pillar. The dial plate has Roman numbers and is delineated in quarter hours. Magnetic variation is engraved at degree intervals. The dial originally had a removable wood cover, then a metal one, which became permanently closed. It was removed in 2009 and now has a plexiglass cover. From Betty Adams in the Kennebec Journal, "At the uncovering, a half dozen people strained to read some of the lettering on the dial: 'Arc for magnetic variation', [and on an interior circle] 'Moses B. Bliss - Circumferentor' which means surveyor's compass... The meridian monument was one of those erected at county courthouses in Maine between 1869 and 1871, according to research by Harold E. Nelson, senior geodesist at the Maine Department of Transportation's property office...Nelson said the monument would have been used by local land surveyors to test their compasses against true north."
 
 
Oro Valley Arizona USA Analemmatic Dial 871
This analemmatic sundial is painted on concrete. It is similar to John Carmichael's human sundial at Flandrau Planetarium at the University of Arizona. The orange background was painted by hand with acrylic paint on top of the blue acrylic court surface. Lettering and other markings were painted with Rustoleum spray enamel using stencils from Stencilease.com. Final touch up painting was done by hand. It took a three man team ten days to paint. It's quarter hour time marks are longitude corrected and shows Standard Time when readings are adjusted using the Equation of Time. It includes a central Date Line for standing, using monthly and weekly marks. There is a Solar Noon mark, and Bailey Points to indicate the direction of sunrise and sunset.
 
 
Waring Texas USA Vertical Dial 870
This is a rare American stained glass sundial, accurately telling time and season. It occupies the center panel of a five panel window that forms a cross. The vertical sundial panel measures 28x28 inches and declines 48° west of south, so it only functions in the afternoons. The dial is longitude corrected and indicates Daylight Saving Time when readings are adjusted using the Equation of Time. The gnomon is a 3/4 inch brass ball nodus attached by a non-polar axis rod to the aluminum Sussman window frame. It is the only stained glass sundial in the world that uses frosted colored stained glass to enhance the view of the nodus shadow. It has three seasonal date lines, a solar noon mark, and other marks showing special anniversary dates. It contains the traditional fly, seen on the the lower yellow panel between 1pm and 1:30pm.
 
 
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.
 
 
Bay Fortune Prince Edward Island Canada Horizontal Dial 868
A brass, horizontal dial about 14 inches in diameter sits on a stone pedestal with a red marble cap. Embossed Roman numbers mark the hours from 4am to 8pm, and delineated every 10 minutes. Radiating from the center are pointed leaves to each hour. The dial plate green patina is marred by graffiti and the gnomon has broken off. A restoration for this dial is planned using the original gnomon.
 
 
Kokomo Indiana USA Analemmatic Dial 867
This brightly decorated analemmatic sundial is painted on the asphalt to look like a book turning into flowers, showing the combination of literacy and nature. The dial is approximately 10 foot wide with hour marks from 5am to 7pm with drawings of various flowers. Noon is marked with a large sunflower. The central walkway is simply done with the abbreviated names of the months, one column in green, the other in red.
 
 
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.
 
 
New Berlin Wisconsin USA Equatorial Dial 865
This whimsical yet elegant equatorial dial is made from old farm implements. The materials are high carbon steel and cast iron parts. The 18-inch gear is a flywheel from an International Harvester farm tractor. The base is a harrow blade for tilling soil. The harrow blades ride on a square shaft and the blades are separated by spacers seen the base of the sundial. The meridian arcs are soil tillers that would ride on a drum behind the tractor. These pieces are very challenging to weld because they are dissimilar materials. Horseshoe nails mark the hours on the equatorial arc. No hour numbers are used, just the nails. The gnomon is an arrow rod.
 
 
Raleigh North Carolina USA Horizontal Dial 864
Known as the Primrose Sundial, the bronze dial plate is a little more than a foot in diameter and sits on a small stone pillar about four feet high. The dial has simple hour lines from 4am to 8pm marked on the hour in Roman numerals. The open bronze gnomon is about 1/2 inch thick, held by both tenon and two large screws.
 
 
Houston Texas USA Armillary Dial 863
The armillary sundial is part of the statue Hercules Upholding the Heavens. The statue portrays the ancient Greek hero Hercules performing the eleventh of his twelve labors, holding the heavens on his back for Atlas. The bronze sculpture is 1,650 pounds and over 10 feet tall. In 1917 Paul Manship was asked by Charles Schwab (Bethlehem Steel) to create this sculpture for his garden at his newly completed mansion.
 
 
Newport News Virginia USA Vertical Dial 862
This vertical dial declines 28 degrees east, and was commissioned as educational artwork for the new Discover STEM Academy (Magruder Elementary School). The dial is 21 feet wide and 14 feet tall consisting of quarter inch by 3 inch aluminum planks for the hour lines and 4 inch aluminum pieces for the solstices and equinox lines. The hour lines are adjusted for longitude, with stainless steel Arabic numerals showing the time from 6am to 2pm at the bottom of each hour line. The gnomon is a 2 inch rod 40 inches long with a 6-inch nodus ball set back slightly from the rod end. The gnomon is held to the wall by an 18 inch yellow sun.
 
 
Woodbridge Virginia USA Horizontal Dial 861
This horizontal dial sits on a low concrete dais 13 feet in diameter. At the interior is an oculus 3 feet in diameter with loose gravel from which a 10-inch I-beam gnomon emerges. The I-Beam extends approximately 4 feet into the air with the north end cut vertical to the ground and then canted back creating a graceful taper on the underside. The dais concrete is of two colors: an inner pink ring 9 feet in diameter and an outer earth-toned ring that serves as a 2 foot wide chapter ring.
 
 
Providence Rhode Island USA Horizontal Dial 860
This 18th century dial is made by Benjamin Martin an instrument maker in London. It is bronze, approximately 18 inches in diameter. The gnomon rod is held by an meridian circle attached to a heavy bronze pedestal with three legs. The horizontal time ring, held by the meridian ring and an east-west ring as well, is engraved with Roman numerals.
 
 
Providence Rhode Island USA Vertical Dial 859
This is a traditional vertical dial approximately 4 x 6 feet. The dial is surrounded by a row of square pink concrete brick. The dial backdrop itself is concrete with decorative dark block squares in each corner. The dial consists of a simple metal frame with hour lines that radiate from a small top central circle, all well proportioned. Hours of 7, 9, 12, 3, and 5 are marked with Arabic numbers, keeping the dial face simple. No solstice or equinox lines, but there is an artistic circular arc surrounding the central circle. Unfortunately the rod gnomon is completely missing.
 
 
Providence Rhode Island USA Vertical Dial 858
The 3 x 4 foot vertical dial is set high in the ashlar sandstone wall of Wilson Hall, the original Physics Building. In the middle of the dial is the Brown University shield, holding the gnomon rod. Surrounding the shield are hour lines. In the original 1890 architect's drawing, the hour marks were Arabic numbers from 6am to 6pm, but as built, the numbers were engraved Roman numerals and set inside the hour lines. Half hour marks were added as well. No longitude offset is made such that the noon hour line is vertical.
 
 
Providence Rhode Island USA Vertical Dial 857
The vertical dial is a metal frame approximately 4 x 5 feet set high on a brick wall. Within the frame are metal hour lines from 6am to 5pm marked by Roman numerals. The hour lines are adjusted for the dial's longitude to show time for the 75th meridian. Metal lines for the solstices and equinox are set for the shadow of a small spherical nodus on the gnomon rod. The gnomon itself is anchored to a bronze plate stylized as the Sun.
 
 
Hamilton Ontario Canada Gnomonic Dial 856
At first glance this appears to be a gnomonic dial with a concrete vertical gnomon about 15 feet tall casting its shadow onto a horizontal dial face about 60 feet in diameter in a slightly irregular pattern at one corner of a grass park. But something is seriously wrong for this to be a working sundial. Gnomonic dials tell time by the tip of their gnomon. The size of the gnomon implies that only several hours around noon in the summer could possibly tell time. We would expect that the gnomon is displaced from the center of the hour lines proportional to the height times tangent of the latitude. But here, the brick hour lines radiate centrally from the gnomon. More interesting, the hour lines (and their Roman numeral hour designation) are separated by a nearly uniform increment of 18 degrees per hour. That is, only five hours marks span from North to East.
 
 
Golden Colorado USA Reflective Equatorial Dial 855
This dial is one of Bill Gottesman's uniquely designed Renaissance dials of cast and structural bronze with a 27 inch diameter time telling helix whose axis is aligned to the celestial-north pole. Time is told by a focused beam of light from a long cylindrical unsilvered mirror situated on that N-S axis, reflecting sunlight into a slit of light onto the helix, telling time throughout the day. A sliding time scale within the helix is adjusted for longitude, date's equation of time correction and daylight saving time. Once this scale is adjusted for date, the dial shows civil (local clock) time with an accuracy of under one minute. The dial base is cast bronze that allows adjustment for latitude and is placed on a sandstone plinth.
 
 
Alburquerque New Mexico USA Horizontal Dial 854
This was a unique horizontal sundial designed for the Nob Hill Main Street program, where the sundial anchored the southeast corner of the Nob Hill Community Garden. Created several years ago by Mike Heighway and Mira Rose, Mike explained, "The purpose of the Nob Hill Sundial is to act as an interactive gardener’s guide. It works on an annual cycle by casting a shadow from a large center piece (the gnomon) onto a concrete plate with embedded steel [diurnal] bands and porcelain tiles that describe that month’s gardening activities." The dial itself was about 10 feet in diameter with an metal, rust-colored gnomon. The sundial is designed around the summer and winter solstice, since these are ultimately the times of year when the sun is either at its highest or lowest point in the noon sky. Each horizontal band connects to two tiles; one side for months approaching the summer solstice, and the other for months approaching the winter solstice. The tiles instruct people what monthly activities to do in the garden.
 
 
Nashville Tennessee USA Equatorial Dial 853
The equatorial dial made of aluminum operates on a unique principle. The equatorial time ring is allowed to rotate. Fixed to its co-rotating noon hour meridian ring is a plate with the analemma, extending +/- 23.5 deg from the equator. At top of the equatorial ring is a small hole allowing sunlight to make a spot on the analemma plate. The whole assembly is rotated until the sunlight spot falls on the analemma (with monthly marks to avoid ambiguity). One tells time using 5-minute time marks on the top of the equatorial ring read by one of two indicators either as central standard or daylight savings time.