Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Hamilton  

Sundial 856
State/Province:  Ontario Country:  Canada
Dial Type:  Gnomonic Condition:  Fair
Latitude:   43° 15.320' N Longitude:   79° 50.513' W
Location:
  • At the intersection of Harvey St. and Stirton St. at the southwest corner of Powell Park
 
Description:
  • 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.

    It appears that the intent was to mark summer hours as the noon marks are set from 7am to 9pm. Roman numerals I is set to true north and the numerals proceed every 18 degrees until IX, is set at azimuth of +144 degrees. On the morning side VII begins at -103 deg. No markings exist for the summer and winter solstice nor for the equinox. Metal letters down the gnomon spell "POWELL".
 
General Information:Inscription:
  • Owner: City of Hamilton
  • Plaque on the gnomon: Powell Playground Dedicated to the Memory of William B. Powell Former President of Appleford Pater Products Ltd Benefactor of Hamilton's Playground Development - Redeveloped Under the Neighborhood Improvement Program April 1981
  • Designer: Developed under Neighborhood Improvement Program
  • Builder:
  • Construction Date: April, 1981
 

Last Revised: 2017-03-29 01:18