Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society


Sundial: 922
State/Province:  Connecticut Country:  USA
Dial Type:  Vertical Dial Condition:  Excellent
  Latitude and Longitude: 41° 33.333' N  72° 39.558' W
  • The dial is located on the south curved wall of Wesleyan University's Van Vleck Observatory at the highest point on the campus.
  • This 6 x 6 ft. bronze, vertical sundial faces directly south on the curved sandstone wall of the Observatory. This dial was fabricated of Muntz metal bronze that received a hot applied green patina to compliment the brown sandstone color of this 1916 university observatory. Because of its large size, the metal dial weighs 650 lb. The hour numbers and lines are raised and applied to the surface of the dial. The Roman hour numbers that surround the dial plate in a frame take their shape according to the hour angle. Declination lines of the solstices and equinox are marked by the triangular gnomon shadow tip. The dial includes a built in longitude correction to show solar time for the time zone meridian. On a nearby wall below the dial, a plaque features an analemmatic graph for the equation of time correction to get clock civil time.

    Adzema selected a patina to color the bronze sculpture. “I chose this green because it is the natural color bronze would oxidize over time. It is also a shade that looks great against the color of the observatory’s brownstone walls....The biggest difficulty was achieving the patina, which had to be applied by heating the surface of the dial and applying various chemicals and acids.”
General Information:
  • Owner: Wesleyan University
  • Designer: Robert Adzema
  • Builder: Signs and Decal Co. and Artistic Metal Works
  • Construction Date: Installed July 2018

Last Revised: 2018-10-04 22:3

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