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.

 
 
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.
 
 
Wilmington North Carolina USA Equatorial Dial 852
This is a bronze hemispherical equatorial sundial approximately 30 inches in diameter. The wide equatorial band is delineated every quarter hour and has cast Arabic numerals as hour markers from 6am to 6pm. The meridian band is inscribed with markers for the solstices and cross-quarter days.
 
 
New Orleans Louisiana USA Horizontal Dial 851
The concrete dial is 32 inches in diameter with simple hour lines without any further ornamentation. The foot high gnomon is a stainless steel wedge, tapering slightly from base to top. An interesting effect of looking at the sundial and gnomon: by moving your head, the hour lines reflected in the gnomon can line up with lines on the other side of the gnomon. The dial sits on a 3 foot high concrete pedestal.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 850
This horizontal dial was commissioned by the District of Columbia Department of General Services for the newly renovated River Terrace Educational Campus. The mosaic dial is installed within a 20 ft diameter concrete plaza. The dial face is a beautifully colored spectrum of Italian Piccolo porcelain 1-inch mosaic tiles encompassing a circle 8 ft in diameter. Embedded in the mosaic chapter ring are 7-inch aluminum Arabic numbers marking the hours from 6am to 6pm and just within are letters marking the cardinal points. The aluminum gnomon is 4 ft. long and 2.83 ft tall.
 
 
Lucedale Mississippi USA Armillary Dial 849
The armillary is constructed of stainless steel with rings approximately 34 inches in diameter. The equatorial ring is a 3-inch band with 1-inch cast bronze Arabic hour numbers showing standard time and 1/2 inch cast bronze numbers for Daylight Saving Time. The other rings are unconventional. Rather than a horizontal ring, the ring is canted to match the latitude. The solstial ring that traditionally runs completely over the N-S vertical meridian is only 3/4 complete, creating an open area from the upper portion of the equatorial band to the southern pole that allows better viewing of the equatorial time ring when standing behind the armillary. The dial can be adjusted for the equation of time by rotating the equatorial ring to align on a plate with month marks set to the equation of time plus longitude offset, allowing the sundial to tell civil time.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 848
The original sundial, made in 1841, was 14 inches in diameter and sat on a limestone pedestal 30 inches high. In early drawings from the late 1890's and later photos, the dial had a massive triangular gnomon. For years it served as the post chronometer.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 847
The circular bronze dial has a massive triangular gnomon and is kept under a protective plastic dome. In R. McGuire's book, St. Louis Arsenal - Armory Of The West is a picture of the sundial for which the caption reads "On December 12, 1859, master armorer N. Engels, machinist A. Schaedel, and engraver W. Hawksley dedicated a sundial, which they had created entirely from spare ordnance materials. It was a scientifically precise instrument, measuring 17 inches in diameter, and was used for many years as the definitive chronometer of the arsenal. Engraved upon it was a poem entitled 'The Bird of Liberty,' reflecting the patriotic fervor of the day."
 
 
New Orleans Louisiana USA Horizontal Dial 846
Amidst the gardens in City Park is the Bacher Sundial, an 18-foot diameter pebbled concrete horizontal sundial set flush with the ground. The gnomon is well made, with curves nicely cut, edges straight, and the weld fillet is smooth and blends the upright with the base nicely. It is set on a low circular dais set considerably south of the center of the circular dial face. The gnomon is a simple iron blade 144 inches in length along the style edge. At the base, slots for anchoring the gnomon allow adjustment of 8-10 degrees to align to true north. Currently the gnomon sits near the center of the range, but can be pushed by hand to either end of the range. With loose nuts holding the gnomon, it appears canted at the base. Tightening the nuts could restore gnomon to its necessary 30 degree angle, but deterioration of the bolt anchors may prevent full tightening.
 
 
Nashotah Wisconsin USA Horizontal Dial 845
In a quite, shaded corner of the Nashotah House Theological Seminary is a copper alloy horizontal dial. The dial plate is a 10 inch square, 3/32 inches thick. The dial is engraved with several concentric circles with with large Roman hour marks on an outer ring from 5am to 7pm. Time is delineated in 5 minute increments on the outer circle, but includes an inner circle delineated in 15 minute increments. In the center of the dial is an 8-point compass rose with engraved directions. The quarter inch thick brass gnomon is a simple raised bar acting as style with an "S" shaped support.
 
 
Baltimore Maryland USA Analemmatic Dial 844
Volunteers painted a 16 x 5 foot analemmatic dial for the elementary and middle school students. The dial has 8-inch circles for hour numbers from 5am to 7pm using standard time. The dial walkway is painted with yellow month lines and abbreviations for each month to the side. The words "summer" and "winter" are at the solstice lines. Bailey points are painted as small yellow circles to indicate the direction of sunrise and sunset from the observer's position on the walkway.
 
 
Baltimore Maryland USA Analemmatic Dial 843
Volunteers painted a 16 x 5 foot analemmatic dial for the elementary and middle school students. The dial has 8-inch circles for hour numbers from 5am to 7pm using standard time. The dial walkway is painted with yellow month lines and abbreviations for each month to the side. The words "summer" and "winter" are at the solstice lines. Bailey points are painted as small yellow circles to indicate the direction of sunrise and sunset from the observer's position on the walkway.