Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Eight years ago the University of Western Australia (UWA) commissioned a talented graduate, artist Shaun Tan, to create an impressionistic sundial for the 100th anniversary of UWA.  The fundamentals of the west-facing sundial were delineated by UWA Professor Peter Kovesi of the Geophysics and Image Analysis Group.

Read more: Four Minutes Til Sunset

nass_news_2013_jun_Selvaggio_ArchesSouthwind Park in Springfield Illinois is a National Model Park.  It got its start in October 2004 when trustees accepted the donation of 80 acres of land just off South Second Street.  Their website states "Our unique state-of-the-art park serves as a national model by proving a new dimensions of inclusion for all people."  A park without boundaries that accomodates people in wheelchairs and visitors with special needs. 

Read more: Southwind Park to get 20-foot Tall Dial

nass_news_2013_jan_Carmichael_Dial
[photo courtesy of John Carmichael]

In 2002, the North American Sundial Society recognized John Carmichael with the Sawyer Dialing Prize as an eminent artisan who creates a wide variety of sundials, principally in stone and glass. In recognition, John received a small brass equatorial sundial made by the renowned British artisan Tony Moss.  But for nearly a decade the sundial remained on John's workbench never seeing the full light of day.

Recently Mr. Carmichael completed a 24:1-scale model railroad in his back yard (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlcarmichael/sets/72157632430552837/with/8348506244/). Now his Sawyer Dialing Prize sundial finally sits in the Arizona sun as a miniature "Monumental Sundial" at the Trolley Station.  At the 24:1 scale, the 3-inch dial assumes the proportion of a large 6-foot equatorial sundial. You can see John Carmichael's dials at http://www.sundialsculptures.com/.

nass_news_2012_dec_WilkesboroSundial
[photoCourtesy of the Wilkes Journal-Patriot]

Some sundial artisans and their work are instantly recognizable.  Back in 2010 on the wall of the Yancey Times Journal building in Burnsville, North Carolina, astronomer Bob Hampton and artist Martin Weaver created the Quilt Block Sundial, an 8x8 foot vertical dial colorfully painted by volunteers from the Quilt Trails of North Carolina.

Read more: Wilkesboro Quilt Dial

nass_news_2012_mar_Lego_Sundial

What can 62 LEGO bricks build?  An equatorial sundial.  A recent dial building project demonstrates a very nice looking sundial dial built from regular LEGO elements.  The design is a classic equatorial sundial using a central north-pointing rod gnomon with shadow cast only hourly segments tilted at 15 degree increments.  The base swivels such that it can be adjusted for any latitude.

The building blocks use 1xN plates placed side by side on the underside of a 1x4x5 arch, creating the hourly progression of 15 degree tilted tiles.  In the design shown, two blue plates in the center bracket the noon mark.  Outer blue plates indicate 6am and 6pm. All you need to do is paste on the hour numerals. 

Read more: LEGO Sundial

nass_news_2012_jan_downton_abbey
[photo courtesy of John Foad]

Many have been following the Prime time Emmy Award winning series Downton Abbey on PBS.  This British World War I period drama was filmed on location at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, which represents the fictional Downton Abbey.  Many outdoor scenes were filmed in the village of Bampton, Oxfordshire. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downton_Abbey )

As you follow the lives of aristocrats and servants in this acclaimed series, keep an eye out for sundials.  Attached is a photo noticed by NASS member John Foad.  Want to search for yourself?  Look for the dial in front of the hospital. The complete set of the series can be found on Amazon and Shop PBS.

And while you're at it, look for sundials in Foyle's War, Midsomer Murders, and Father Brown.  You'll be surprise how many sundials you will find.

Attachments:
Download this file (Dials_of_Downton_Abbey.pdf)Dials_of_Downton_Abbey.pdf[ ]313 kB

nass_news_2011_sept_joelmyers_2

On September 22, 2011 Penn State University dedicated a massive granite sundial donated by trustee and alumnus Joel Myers.  Designed and sculptured by artist Mark Mennin, it is installed in the university's arboretum.  At the dedication Myers  said, "We wanted to create something unique...The sundial is to be a destination".  Though still lacking a few final touches, such as a bit of polishing, the large granite dial is functional and tells time to the nearest minute.

 

Read more: Granite Sundial at Penn State

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