Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Selected Sundials of North America

This is a selected listing of sundials in the North American Sundial Society Registry. Click on any dial thumbnail picture or city name to display the full dial description with additional information and images.

 

Iowa

 
Council Bluffs Iowa USA Obelisk or Vertical Gnomon Dial 479
Vertical gnomon casting its shadow onto a plaza in front of the city library. Modernistic design. This dial has been scheduled for removal as of October, 2010 due to cracking and to make more green space.
 
 
Davenport Iowa USA Horizontal Dial Dial 973
This is a 40-foot diameter sundial made only from flowers. Hours are shown from 6am to 6pm. The gnomon is made of steel and wire mesh with sweet autumn clematis growing on it. The clematis vines are kept trimmed and tied up to keep the shadow from getting too big. The gardner commented, "If I were doing it over I would use a metal piece for the shadow finger." There is a steel frame in the ground to mark the outer edge and all the divisions of where to plant the plants inside the bed. The plants in the inner area of the sundial change from year to year – in 2019 it was two colors of marigolds. Alternanthera or Joseph’s Coat are used on the outer edge by the numbers. These flowers are sheared to keep them low and compact. The numbers are planted with green Alternanthera and surrounded by a band of red Alternanthera. These flower numbers are sheared with small electric grass shears and kept about 2 inches above the red band. Other plants in the sundial garden include large “elephant ears,” cactus-like agave, alyssum, ageratum and lime green and purple nicotiana. The purple nicotiana becomes fragrant after dark, providing an olfactory as well as a visual delight for visitors watching the lights play on the fountain.
 
 
Des Moines Iowa USA Horizontal Dial Dial 106
This beautiful horizontal brass dial is 24 inches in diameter, cast onto a larger circle 28 inches in diameter. The dial has raised hour, half-hour, and 15-minute lines drawn in esthetic proportions from 5 am to 7pm. Roman numerals are on the outer rim. In the center to the left and right of the gnomon is a table for the Equation of Time in 15 day increments. The dial rests on four brass columns 20 inches high, which are mounted on a brass base 28 inches in diameter. The entire structure is centered on a concrete octagon 6 1/2 feet across.
 
 
Des Moines Iowa USA Horizontal Dial Dial 975
This is a 32-inch diameter horizontal dial made of stainless steel. Hour lines are engraved for every half hour and extend from summer to winter solstice based on the tip of the triangular gnomon. Hours are marked in Arabic numerals. Between the solstice limits are declination lines for the first of each month. Note that the inscribed latitude and longitude are slightly in error.
 
 
Des Moines Iowa USA Horizontal Dial Dial 976
This is an ornate 12-inch diameter bronze horizontal dial with a central sun underneath the gnomon. Surrounding the the sun is an 8-point compass rose. On the chapter ring the hours are embossed from 5am to 7pm in Roman numerals that face outward. Time is delineated every 10 minutes. The gnomon is simple but too long for the dial, extending 2 inches past the dial edge. The place where a motto might be placed is empty, awaiting a bronze insert.
 
 
Des Moines Iowa USA Horizontal Dial Dial 483
A very large and striking horizontal dial 50 feet in diameter with a 15 foot tall metal gnomon. Dial has standard time marked in brass Roman numerals and daylight saving time in smaller circular brass discs with Arabic numerals. The 16 large granite markers radiating from the center are artistic effect only and to not mark time. This large monumental dial is surrounded by a knot-garden. The dial granite base is raised 2.5 feet.The knot-garden theme is continued on the upper, center level.
 
 
Des Moines Iowa USA Horizontal Dial Dial 484
A small 8-inch diameter dial of bronze with black background and highly polished Roman numbers and hour lines. An eight-point compass rose, equally well polished occupies the majority of the center. The gnomon is missing. The dial plate is set at an incorrect orientation. The dial sits on a 4-foot high fluted granite column.
 
 
Des Moines Iowa USA Horizontal Dial Dial 486
This large horizontal dial is approximately 6-foot square with a 4-foot gnomon. The dial face is done in two tones of marble. Time is indicated by radiating hour lines to nearly the dial's edge and graced with Roman numerals. The gnomon has an emblem of the masonic star on west side, and the masonic square and compass on the east side.
 
 
Iowa City Iowa USA Equatorial Dial Dial 970
An 2-foot diameter dial with a wide 8-inch equatorial band. Vertical lines mark half hours from 5 am to 7pm in Arabic numerals placed at both the top and bottom of the band. Zodiac declination with month and dates engraved. The shadow nodus is held in place by a horizontal rod. Time and date marks are faint, implying that the dial has been continually polished over the years.
 
 
West Des Moines Iowa USA Armillary Sphere Dial 485
This is a 24-inch armillary sphere on top of a portion of a brass globe showing continents and latitude lines o The dial points generally south, aligned for beauty, not function. The base is aligned to a general northern direction. The time equatorial band, meridian circle and improper horizontal band are painted black. Elegant polished brass Arabic hour numbers half-hour brass time beads indicate the time on the equatorial band. Sits on a concrete column several feet high.
 
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