Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Selected Sundials of Missouri

Click on any photo or city name to get more sundial details and more photos.

 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 847
The circular bronze dial has a massive triangular gnomon and is kept under a protective plastic dome. In R. McGuire's book, St. Louis Arsenal - Armory Of The West is a picture of the sundial for which the caption reads "On December 12, 1859, master armorer N. Engels, machinist A. Schaedel, and engraver W. Hawksley dedicated a sundial, which they had created entirely from spare ordnance materials. It was a scientifically precise instrument, measuring 17 inches in diameter, and was used for many years as the definitive chronometer of the arsenal. Engraved upon it was a poem entitled 'The Bird of Liberty,' reflecting the patriotic fervor of the day."
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 848
The original sundial, made in 1841, was 14 inches in diameter and sat on a limestone pedestal 30 inches high. In early drawings from the late 1890's and later photos, the dial had a massive triangular gnomon. For years it served as the post chronometer.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Analemmatic Dial 605
A child-safe compliant surface analemmatic dial located in a roof garden. The dial face includes hour numerals, cardinal directions and moon phases. A nearby plaque give directions for use.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 354
A horizontal dial sculpture called "Child Sundial" depicts a daydreaming child figure playing with a sundial gnomon that is part of a working sundial. The gnomon is about 5 1/2 inches high and the hour lines are adjusted to show standard time in St. Louis. The sculpture and dial are at ground level surrounded by a bed of creeping thyme, perhaps a gentle Herb garden pun. Statue constructed of lead, 12 x 21 inches
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 622
A 16.5 inch diameter bronze horizontal dial on a stone pedestal in front of the south entrance to the glass-walled Jewel Box building in Forest Park. The dial was erected by the Missouri Society Colonial Dames of America as a tribute to the memory of Mary Harrison Leighton Shields, who organized the Society in 1896 and served as its president until 1913. The dial face is inscribed, "WE LIVE IN DEEDS NOT YEARS." Dial furniture includes an hour glass and eagle wings. The perimeter around the dial is inscribed, "MARY HARRISON LEIGHTON SHIELDS." Dial sits atop a stone pedestal.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 626
A unique horizontal dial 28 inches square and 1 inch thick of white Carrara marble with two cast bronze gnomons. Four time systems are shown on the dial. The shadow of the short vertical gnomon near the dial center indicates Ezanic hours based on a 24 equal-hour day with two 12-hour periods starting at sunset; Babylonian hours similarly based on two 12-hour periods starting at sunrise; and two Moslem prayer times, Zuhr and Asr. The polar gnomon shadow indicates hours based on two, 12 equal-hour periods starting at noon and midnight. The polar gnomon support consists of seven rings representing the celestial spheres of Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Dial furniture includes a Qibla showing the direction to Mecca, N 42.7° for this location. Dial markings are accentuated with inlaid gold leaf. This dial design is based on the Ottoman dial at Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, built about 1480, and on Ibn Al Shatir's dial in Damascus built 1371, the first sundial with a polar gnomon. Dial rests on three large carved marble blocks 42 inches high. The Botanical Gardens are public but require a moderate admission fee.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 883
The circular bronze dial sits on an iron pipe, surrounded by a picket fence and protected from the elements by a brass hood. It is a nearly identical dial to the one at the St. Louis Arsenal (NASS dial #847), and was manufactured in the same year, 1859. It is likely that master armorer N. Engels, machinist A. Schaedel, and engraver W. Hawksley created this dial.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Obelisk Dial 885
The obelisk is constructed of North Carolina pink granite. At the base it is 18 x 16 inches and soars 18 feet into the sky. The obelisk displays a cross in its own shadow at solar noon on three days each year – the vernal equinox on about March 21, the summer solstice on about June 21, and the autumnal equinox on about September 22.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 889
Sitting on a classic sundial pedestal is the Concordia sundial made of thin bronze plate in the shape of a hexagon about 8 inches between opposing sides. Hour lines radiate from where a thick gnomon would have stood, with Arabic numbers from 4am to 8pm counting the hours. The gnomon had gone missing in 2009 when the dial was vandalized. A new gnomon fitting the position of the old was designed by Don Snyder of St. Louis and made of bronze plate by William Turner of Turner & Associates, a metalworker also of St. Louis.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 891
This horizontal sundial is part of a sculpture set, formed as a lily pad, and surrounded by three circular flowers with centers that are small water fountains (no longer working). The dial face is no longer flat and the graceful gnomon does not point true north. There is a short cylinder at the end of the gnomon with a hole, perhaps for casting a beam of light on a certain day. The hole is at a 34.4 deg angle, aiming toward the slot in the dial face. Now, the dial is located in dense shade preventing operation.
 
 
St. Louis Missouri USA Vertical Dial 396
A vertical decliner at the top of the Cupples I building. Given by the class of 1908. Can be seen from the courtyard of Robert S. Brookings building. In 1908 the campus newspaper, the Washington University Student Life, commented that "The new sun dial on Cupples I is now being put into position upon the tablet on the south side of the building?It will be interesting to note the discrepancy between sun time and standard time by comparing with the Varsity clock [a large time piece situated high on the west wall of Brookings Hall, with both clock and dial visible in the quadrangle]." Today the Baumont Pavilion, erected in 1965, blocks a close view of the ornate tablet and dial. Use binoculars from a distance.
 
 
St. Mary's City Maryland USA Cylinder Dial 374
Cement cylinder dial with an inside radius of about 18 inches and a concrete gnomon 5 inches thick. The hour is read on the top 9summer) face in Roman numerals from VII to XVII; the scale is offset for longitude correction. The cylindrical inner face is stainless steel with an engraved grid of quarter hours and months, with an equation of time curve on every hour.
 
 
St. Petersburg Florida USA Equatorial Dial 794
A very large bowstring equatorial dial. The outer diameter of the equatorial ring is 26 feet, the height of the meridian ring is 22 feet above the base and the gnomon rod is 26.5 feet long, making this possibly the largest bowstring dial known at this time. The equatorial ring is marked on two faces with large Roman hour numerals for 7 AM to 5 PM. The dial base includes a large compass rose marked with major directions.
 
 
St. Petersburg Florida USA Analemmatic Dial 822
Sculptor Eric Higgs was originally approached by Robin Reed,who chaired the historic preservation committee for the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association. She was interested in sprucing up a decrepit area where sundials once stood at Vista Point, Flora Park. From the 1930's to the 1970's two different sundials were located on this site. The plan to refurbish the last sundial slowly evolved into a plan for a new sculpture that "escalated into a project for the [waterfront] centennial."
 
 
St. Petersburg Florida USA Equatorial Dial 224
An equatorial dial built by Erickson Monument Co in 1974 for the War Veterans Memorial Park. Dial is 6 feet in diameter made from granite. The gnomon rod of about 3 inches diameter is stainless steel. Hour, half hours, quarter hours and five minute marks show the time. For symmetry, the face has hours marked for the entire 24 hours, though in Florida the excursion of time from 6am to 6pm is relatively small. The hour lines are rotated for the site longitude.
 
 
Stamford Connecticut USA Vertical Dial 31
Vertical dial designed by R. Newton Mayall. Sailing ship in background. Longitude, latitude and declination given on face. Built in 1954.
 
 
Stanbridge East Quebec Canada Horizontal Dial 828
The sundial is a 10-inch circular bronze horizontal dial engraved with hours in Roman numerals from IIII to VIII, (4 am to 8 pm) and marks for the half and quarter hours. A compass rose shows 32 compass points. Unfortunately the gnomon is missing. It was originally fastened by two weak screws. Attempts to solder the gnomon in place failed.
 
 
Stanstead Quebec Canada Horizontal Dial 65
A horizontal dial "sculptural triptych" called "Zig-Zag". Three steel pipes 8x15x13 feet define the sundial. The shadow from its highest point will run along the lower horizontal section exactly E-W at the equinoxes. Stainless steel bolts on the horizontal section serve as hour markers to that time is recorded throughout the year, with the first section of the zigzag serving as the gnomon. The dial-sculpture was funded in part by a 1991 award of a Vermont Community Fund Grant. See NASS Compendium Vol. 1 No. 2, May 1994
 
 
Starr's Point Nova Scotia Canada Horizontal Dial 407
A small horizontal dial, 8-inches in diameter. The dial is a fiberglass reproduction with metal gnomon upon a cement pedestal. The original dial dates from the 1820s and judging from the reproduction, is in very poor condition. Has Roman numerals, but the hour lines do not agree with the gnomon position. Very difficult to read. North edge of gnomon is cut to resemble a face in profile, possibly in reference to the inscription. On the grounds of the Charles Ramage Prescott House, built 1814 - 1816. Prescott was a merchant and horticulturalist.
 
 
State College Pennsylvania USA Analemmatic Dial 835
A simple analemmatic dial about 12 feet across. Square unmarked flagstone or pavers mark the hours. The walkway has a concrete base covered by the same flagstone or pavers. The walkway months are embossed in the stone.