Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Salem  

Sundial: 124
State/Province:  Massachusetts Country:  USA
Dial Type:  Horizontal Dial Condition:  Excellent
  Latitude and Longitude: 45° 31.332' N  70° 53.520' W
Location:
  • Essex Institute, Peabody Museum. 16 miles north of Boston, at 161 Essex St. in historic Salem, Massachusetts (corner of Essex and New Liberty Streets). For recorded directions, call 978-745-9500, ext. 4145.
 
Description:
  • 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.
 
General Information:Inscription:
  • Owner: Peabody Museum
  • 1644
  • Designer: unknown
  • Builder: unknown
  • Construction Date: 1644
 
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Last Revised: 2021-10-12 19:26

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