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.



Amherst Massachusetts USA Sun Alignment Dial 523
On the fields of U-Mass is a work called "sunwheel" that is a modern presentation of an American Indian sun-wheel. A circle 130 feet in diameter has 14 major stones weighing 56 tons, 12 minor stones, and 4 flat stones at the center. 2 major stones mark the N and S cardinal points; a pair of portal stones mark the E and W points allowing an uninterrupted view of sunrise and sunset at the equinoxes; 4 stones mark sunrise and sunset at the solstices; and 4 more stones mark the extreme northern and southern positions of moon rise and moon set. Guided presentations can be arranged by calling 413-545-4311.
Andover Massachusetts USA Armillary Sphere Dial 40
A very large and ornate armillary sphere, approximately 8 feet in diameter. Sculpted by Paul Manship in 1928 and cast by Alexis Rudier Fondeur in Paris. The armillary has large figures inside the sphere at the base and the equatorial circle has signs of the zodiac in raised metalwork. The dial sits atop a well proportioned light granite pillar that is about 3 foot high and 4 foot diameter.
Attleboro Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 917
A 45 x 45 inch slate sundial hangs over the bay window. The dial is a vertical decliner with hour lines from 4am to 1pm. The gnomon has been damaged, but if you look carefully, there is a nodus and on the dial face are faint declination lines showing summer & winter solstices and the equinox. The hours are delineated on the hour and marked in Arabic numbers.
Boston Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 41
Once high on east facing wall of the Old State House, was a vertical declining sundial originally built in 1713. The 6x4 foot dial was just above the third story window. It was restored by R.N. Mayall in 1957. But the background became a faded blue and hour lines were hard to see. At least the Roman numerals along edge were clearly visible. In the upper left corner of dial, just above the gnomon,was a small yellow sun.
Boston Massachusetts USA Sculpture/Artwork Dial 1073
The sundial is at the base of a larger sculpture, "Fantastical Historical Nautical Instrument" which includes many references to maritime history, navigation, and time keeping. The cast bronze dial plate is 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter, given a dark patina. The dial has what appears to be correctly delineated to tell local solar time. Roman numerals show between the hour marks and time is marked at 5-minute intervals. At center is a compass rose with 16 points of labelled directions. At the south end of the dial is a graphical equation of time. The gnomon is only partially correct with the majority distorted into an upright support for the fantastical nautical instruments and telescope representations above it. A portion of the gnomon may tell time during the hours around noon, but then the dial is overwhelmed by shadows not of its own. Treat this as part of a sculpture and enjoy the art.
Boston Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 280
A small bronze horizontal dial with bronze figures of a bird with baby birds in nest and pulled worm as gnomon. The whole dial on originally set on a large granite boulder. The dial may have been moved to the roof-top garden, but a photo of the garden shows no large boulder. A possible photo (seen in a Getty commercial image) shows the dial on the ground missing the gnomon. It may not have even been orientated properly to be used as a sundial when it was moved up to the rooftop.
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 45
Painted Dial
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Polar Dial Dial 725
A small polar dial with Arabic numerals for EST and EDST
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 557
A well-patinaed horizontal bronze dial on a stone pillar.
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Collection Dial 125
Harold C. Ernst Collection
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 556
A stone horizontal dial on a pedestal about 4 ft. high donated to Harvard by class of 1870.
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 190
Approx 2' x 2' Bronze Square bronze plate, with Roman numerals, is open in the center. Gnomon extends through this open space. Dial is mounted above a window of the chapel, angled from wall face. (presumably so that it will face true South.)
Charlestown Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 268
A 10 foot diameter bronze and granite horizontal dial with bronze gnomon and Arabic hour numerals on a 2 foot high granite base. Craftspeople of Colonial days are pictured on the face of the sundial. Sculptures depict a grandpa holding a baby while looking at the dial from the east side and a child peeking from behind the 5 foot tall bronze gnomon. Each bronze hour numeral includes a scene sculpture.
Danvers Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 42
An east- declining vertical wood dial above the main doorway of the Rebecca Nurse House. Rebecca Nurse was a victim of the Salem witch trials in 1692. The House was restored in 1909 and it is believed this dial was added at that time; there is no evidence the house originally had a sundial.
Dedham Massachusetts USA Digital Dial Dial 1097
This is one of John Garret Thew's mass produced "digital sundials" patented on April 5, 1960. The dial casts a numeral onto the dial's central plate that accommodates beams of sunlight and shadow from winter to summer solstice. The numerals (corrected for the hour angle distortion) slowly move across the dial's plate and the hour is read at the meridian line. Perhaps a good selection for advanced technology at MIT to grace their garden, but it has been neglected in recent years. However, Thew was not the first to come up with this digital sundial. In June 1758 Monsieur De Lalande of the Royal Academy of Sciences in a letter to the editors of the Journal des Scavans described a dial by J.L. Bizot (1702-1781) in which, on an internal wall, an angel's hand is raised to point upward at numerals of light cast "by a half-ring of iron...which has small openings every 15 degrees in the form of a numeral..."
Dover Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 808
The horizontal dial is in the spiral shape of a Nautilus. The dial was originally built in the 1920's and located at Amelia Peabody's Sun House at 145 Powisset Stree in Dover, MA.
Foxboro Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 43
Very large vertical dial mounted above the entrance to the Foxboro Research Center. With solstice and equinox lines and a noon analemma.
Greenfield Massachusetts USA Hours to Sunset Dial 475
A 5 foot diameter pink Canadian granite horizontal hours-until-sunset dial. The 8 inch thick granite slab weighs 2000 pounds and rests on a short recessed pedestal, appearing to float above the grass dome of a memorial garden. Lines for hour periods 2-12 are marked with Arabic numerals. The gnomon is a 3/8 inch brass rod protruding 4 inches above the dial face. The dial face is engraved, "HOURS UNTIL SUNSET" and, "READ TIP OF SHADOW." This sundial does not function in the usual manner that tells time of day. Rather, this dial tells the number of hours from the present time of day to the time of sunset. These are equal-period hours counted down until sunset. Since it shows a time period, rather than time-of-day, the dial accuracy is not affected by season of year, daylight saving time or longitude location within the local time zone. Further, this particular design uses a horizontal dial face, while most hours-until-sunset dials use a vertical face. This dial is dedicated as a memorial to Dr. Pallav Parakh, a much-loved surgeon who was killed in a tragic auto accident while walking in a crosswalk.
Marshfield Massachusetts USA Analemmatic Dial Dial 1005
This beautiful and educational analemmatic sundial is painted on the blue background of a 14x10 foot concrete pad. The ellipse itself has a semi-major axis of 76 inches and a semi-minor axis of 48 inches, particular suited for children. The zodiac walkway is nicely painted in white with clean stenciling of the months. The solstices and equinoxes are marked in large letters and the cardinal points are flagged in red. [Note: a number of vendors will make paper or plastic stencils that with a stiff brush create impressive lettering.] The hour marks are bright yellow suns enumerated in standard time and offset for longitude. The paint is covered with a clear sealer (Duromar DF-5610 “Solventless, Zero VOC, UV Stable Clear Polyaspartic Topcoat”) plus a bit of "shark grit" (Duromar DuroTrac "Invisible Traction Grit") to roughen the surface a bit to give some traction. This is similar to the approach taken by John Carmichael for the dial he designed at the University of Arizona, NASS Registry #825.
Milton Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 92
A vertical south facing dial made of painted mahogany with an aluminum gnomon. The dial is in the shape of a shield 3 foot tall by 2 1/2 foot wide, following the seal of the Milton Academy. Around the edge are the hours in Roman numeral. An Equation of Time correction table is now missing, but does not detract from the beauty of the dial. The dial is kept in excellent condition in red, blue and gold motif.
Nantucket Massachusetts USA Compound Dial Dial 513
A combination of horizontal dial and gnomonic projection dial. The dial is about 2 x 3 feet made of DuPont Corian sitting upon a simple wood pedestal. A small horizontal dial about 8 inches in diameter with a triangular brass gnomon tells Daylight Saving Time using Roman numerals. Then a larger gnomonic dial is inscribed on the remaining surface, telling time from the shadow of the tip of the triangular gnomon. The gnomonic dial has hourly analemmas,telling time using Arabic numbers in Standard Time. Both dial lines are offset for the longitude of 70 degrees west. The gnomonic dial has declination lines for each month. A small analemma on the meridian has the letters of the months, indicating how to read the hourly analemmas depending upon the date. The dial is built to be read from the north, so the user's shadow does not interfere.
New Bedford Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 163
1820 Federal style building owned by the Univ. of Mass. at Dartmouth. Referred to as the Sundial building because of a vertical dial over the main entrance.
Newburyport Massachusetts USA Armillary Sphere Dial 443
This 4-foot diameter armillary sphere is made of galvanized, painted and gold leafed steel. The dial is had forged and welded by Cassidy Brothers Forge. It was "Colorgalvanized" by Duncan Industries and gold leafed. It was made to specifications from Albert Waugh's book on sundials, including latitude and longitude corrections. The sundial is mounted on a cast stone pedestal and stands about 8 foot high.
Norwell Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 1003
This vertical declining dial is made of painted plywood with a simple white background and black hour lines and Arabic numerals. The gnomon is a brass rod without nodus. The hour lines have been adjusted for the difference between the site's longitude and the 75° W standard-time meridian. The hours are numbered as Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) instead of Standard Time, because in winter the sun is mostly low in the sky and trees in this wooded area block sunlight from reaching the sundial. Of course to obtain correct EDT, the equation of time needs to be added to the dial's time to account for the variable meridian passage of the sun. At most this amounts to -14 minutes (mid-February) or +16 minutes (early November).
Orange Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 527
A vertical sundial built from Eastern White Pine local-grown timber. The dial face is 35x44 inches and the gnomon is a 3 inch long aluminum rod. Hour lines include analemmas and the spring and fall lines are painted different colors with corresponding dates identified. Solstice and equinox lines are shown.
Plymouth Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 342
approx. 8 feet in diameter Roman numerals, with half-hour marks and compass rose. Dial sits on a rectangular stone pedestal.
Salem Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 131
Approx. 10 inch diameter cast bronze horizontal dial. Inner ring has zodiac signs, middle ring has cherubs, leaves and a crown, and outer ring has hours 4AM-8PM in Roman numerals but no hour lines. The 6AM and 6PM lines are opposite each other but their hour lines do not pass through the root of the gnomon. It is believed the dial was installed about 1910 by then owner Caroline Emmerton. The dial was moved in 2007 to a less sunny location to make room for a seaman's memorial sculpture. The dial pedestal is traditionally decorated stone with circular top
Salem Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 124
Here is a bronze dial approximate 8 inches in diameter with the date 1644. In spite of its age, it is now highly polished showing little if any wear to lines, engraving, and mounting holes. Roman hour numbers go from 5am to 7pm and the chapter ring is divided into quarter hours. The dial face is square and outside the hour ring are many small 5-point stars, stamped with a tool. The dial looks different from those made in London and the Proctor family immigrated to the New World in1635. Measuring the hour lines, the dial was probably made for Salem at 42.5 deg latitude. However an analysis of the hour lines shows the best fit latitude is 44.5 deg. The dial was presented to the Peabody Museum in 1907 by Abel Proctor and is attributed to John Proctor, who along with his wife Elizabeth, were accused of witchcraft in 1692. At the time Proctor was a wealthy tavern owner, but nevertheless was hanged. His wife was spared due to the fact she was pregnant, but remained "convicted" through out her life.
Sandwich Massachusetts USA Armillary Sphere Dial 175
Bronze armillary dial about 40 inches in diameter, weighing between 1100-1200 pounds. The dial has wide 4 inch meridian and equatorial rings. The equatorial ring is flanked with small arctic and antarctic circles near the poles. The gnomon is a brass rod 1 inch in diameter. According to Heritage Museum, "Originally the sundial was highly polished and the engravings on the dial and the instruction plaques were all filled with red paint to make it easier to read. The piece has acquired a patina now and traces of the red paint are still visible." The dial is corrected for longitude and along one side of the octagonal stone pedestal is a graph of the equation of time with instructions on how to read corrected time from the dial.
Somerville Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 441
This 5 foot x 7 foot vertical dial is painted onto the true south facing concrete wall of a commercial building. The gnomon and hour lines appear to be weathered copper or bronze. The hour lines are corrected for longitude, but may be in error by about 5 minutes. The dial is in relatively good condition, but the painted numerals are fading. The building itself has been in several hands over the last 10-15 years.
South Hadley Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 338
This is known as the Mary Deacon Bullard Sundial. It is a bronze-patina horizontal dial about 16 inches in diameter, with a plain gnomon that rises about 6 inches. The chapter ring has time divided into quarter hours. Roman numerals grace the dial from 5am to 7pm. The dial face has an offset 8-point compass rose The dial sits on an ornate stone pillar resting on a two-step octagonal base.
South Hadley Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 177
ca 18 inch diameter horizontal dial. Roman numerals, 5 AM to 7 PM. Zodiac signs in circle within numerals. Capricorn and Sagittarius misplaced. The gnomon was replaced in 1991, but again has been vandalized. Dial sits atop a granite 4-finned pillar with circular granite capital.
South Hadley Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 995
This vertical dial is a quaint and simple sundial made of wood. It is nearly square in shape with hour lines radiating from the gnomon. The hours are marked at the edge of the square in small Roman numerals. There are no solstice or equinox lines. The black disk on the dial face is the base of the gnomon.
South Hadley Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 996
This vertical sundial declines slightly to the southwest in alignment with the building wall. The 1x1 meter dial is of concrete and built in the middle of the south wall. Because of its size and height at least 25 feet above ground, it was made to be seen at a distance. In 1916 when it was built, the land to the south was clear and many early photographs show the dial prominently on the south face One hundred years later many trees block the sunlight to this fine sundial. The dial is delineated in half-hour lines spanning from the 7:30am line in morning to the 6pm hour line in the evening. The hour lines are marked with Roman numerals. There are no solstice or equinox lines.
South Lee Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 838
On the transom of a brown wood shingled and stone building that looks like it once was a church is a vertical south declining wooden sundial about 2 x 2 feet square. The sundial is painted red with a nicely cut wood gnomon. Hour lines and Roman numerals from VI to VI are chiseled into the wood, along with an inscription. The dial is framed in wood as well but the contrasting grey paint is flaking off.
Stow Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 48
The dial was originally high on the south gable of a stone building called the Apple Barn that was located on the grounds of Stow's Center School. Extensive renovations and new buildings were done in 2010 and the Apple Barn itself had to be demolished. The dial was moved to the south-facing wall of the new school's southernmost wing. The dial has hour lines from 6am to 6pm with Roman numerals at each hour. The gnomon radiates from a plain diamond in the center of the dial and the dial face is constructed of white painted clabbered wood.
Sturbridge Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 180
A 1 foot diameter cast iron circular plate, with Roman numerals 5 am to 7 pm. Subdivided into 30 min increments on one ring, 10 minute increments on an adjacent one. Fastened with screws to a large rock. Reproduction of an authentic original cast iron dial from the Samuel Pierce House, Middleton, CT. Plaque reads "In grateful recognition for the leadership and service of Edward L. Clifford, Chairman of the Board of Trustees."
Waltham Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 191
A declining vertical sandstone dial approximately 3x6 feet with bronze gnomon. Mounted at 2nd floor level on large stone house. Roman numerals. Hour lines from 6 am-5 pm are not in standard vertical position, presumably offset to correct for wall not facing due South. Dial reclines approx 2 degrees north. Dial # 190 (Cambridge MA, Mt. Aubry Cemetery, Story Chapel) has same Whittier inscription.
Wellesley Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial Dial 431
A small 14x14 inch rose granite square dial with an unassuming 5 inch high brass gnomon sits upon a round white 3 foot high granite column. At the base is a larger granite block. Built about 1899.
Wendell Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial Dial 688
A 15x5 foot hammer formed copper vertical dial declining 8? east of south with hour and half hour lines and Roman hour numerals. Gnomon is supported by dual braces. An EOT correction graph is provided and includes the inscription, "For every purpose there is a season" and acknowledgment to Friends of the Library and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Woods Hole Massachusetts USA Pillar Dial Dial 176
Stone pillar. Brass EOT graph Four-sided column. Dial on each face, with stone sphere containing a polar axis mounted on the top. Known as the Yalden dial. North gnomon has been placed incorrectly since at least the early 70's.
Worcester Massachusetts USA Equatorial Dial Dial 312
A Victor E. Edwards bronze equatorial sundial. It has an unusual crescent shaped arm with notch at the upper end. The arm is rotated until sunlight through the notch strikes an analemma on the lower inner curve of the crescent. Time is then read on a circular dial from an "hour hand" pointer extending from the base of the crescent.
Worcester Massachusetts USA Equatorial Dial Dial 95
ca 6' segment of cylinder, approx 3' high Metal Gnomon is intentionally omitted. Visitor stands centered in the curve of the cylinder and places finger on crossbar as directed. Shadow of finger indicates the time.