Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Dials of Interest

Sundials of significant interest either because of artisan, design, history, or placement.  An unusal set of dials that should stir anyone's interest

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_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

nass_news_2011_aug_heliodome
[photo credit: Vincent Kessler]

A three dimensional sundial house?  You can find it at 10 rue du Diebach, Cosswiller near Strasbourg in the countryside of Alsace in France.  Eric Wasser has created the "Heliodome", a tilted circular building aligned with the earth's polar axis that is a far cry from the old Buckminister Fuller "Bucky Domes".

The house has a glassed southern exposure to allow sunlight during the winter, but from the equatorial belt forward the house has a nearly conventional roof providing shade during the summer.   As Wasser explains on his website, "The passive solar house is an architectural volume, a Heliodome, determined by the diurnal and annual trajectory of the sun."  Read more about the details at http://www.heliodome.com/equipe.html.

nass_news_2011_jun_beetham

While using Google Maps, some artists living in the UK became unusual dialists when it occurred to them that the shadow cast by a skyscraper could be used as the gnomon of a really tall sundial.

The forty-seven story Beetham Tower in Manchester is 554 feet tall and dominates the city's skyline.  So it occurred to Annie Harrison, Jude Macpherson and Jacqueline Wylie to use the shadow cast by this structure to chart the progress of the sun as part of an art project.

Read more: 500 Foot Tall Gnomon Project

bowiecityhalldial-viewAfter more than a year of construction, the new Bowie City Hall and the Bowie Portal Dial off Evergreen Parkway and Emerald Avenue in Bowie, Maryland, will be dedicated on the 7th of May, 2011.  The City Hall, Police Station along with two works of public art, an interior mobile and the 15-foot steel and bronze sundial will grace the City of Bowie

Read more: Bowie Dial Dedicated

 nass_news_2010_july_GinoSchiavoneGino and Judith Schiavone, members of the North American Sundialnass_news_2010_july_CityofBowieLogo Society, are winners of the City of Bowie sundial contest to build and install a dial in front of the New City Hall under now construction. The value of the project is $90,000. Completion is expected in Oct 2010.

 

Read more: City of Bowie Announces Sundial Winner

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_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