Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society


Sundial: 793
State/Province:  DC Country:  USA
Dial Type:  Horizontal Dial Condition:  
  Latitude and Longitude: 38° 54.044' N  77° 3.001' W
  • George Washington University
    Center of plaza in front of GWU Foggy Bottom Metro Station
  • An incorrectly installed but prominently displayed 8 inch bronze horizontal dial with hour, half-hour and quarter-hour lines and Roman hour numerals from 5 AM to 7 PM. The bronze gnomon is inclined from the dial face approximately 42° and the hour lines appear correct for that latitude, though the local latitude is about 39°.

    The dial is mounted on a concrete plinth whose top surface is inclined 23° from horizontal, placing the gnomon at an angle of 65°. The gnomon is not pointed true north as the plinth is rotated so the dial declines about 50° west of north.

    The dial is notable because it is prominently located in a heavily trafficked public space near a Metro terminal. Yet, the dial is incorrectly designed for the local latitude, incorrectly installed with the dial face steeply inclined from horizontal and the entire dial misaligned significantly from true north. The dial cannot show solar time, yet through apparent coincidence the depicted time agrees roughly with DST during the mid-day hours when the dial is illuminated.
General Information:Inscription:
  • Owner: George Washington University

    A bronze plaque on the plinth reads:
    LOUIS ROSS 1912 - 1991
    MD 1937
    George Washington University
  • Designer:
  • Builder:

Last Revised: 5/11/2015 10:00:

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