Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

2013_CHSI_PocketSundial
[CHSI - Harvard Collection]

Appropriate to NASS’ visit, Harvard had just recently completed a new major exhibit entitled “Time and Time Again” offering conference members a unique view on the changes in time keeping and the social impact of timekeeping technology.  On Friday afternoon, NASS members followed the Time Trails through the Harvard campus, locating historical sundials “in the wild” and timepieces in the Semitic, Peabody, and Natural History Museums.

The day was finished by two presentations “Trading in Time: European Pocket Sundials Designed for Colonial Use in American Territories by Sara Schechner and “Portable Sundials in Austrian Museums” by Ilse Fabian.

During Saturday a plethora of sundial talks were presented by NASS members, including “Counting the Sunny Hours” by Roger Bailey to a new “Wandering Gnomon Sundial Designn” by Fred Sawyer.  Bob Kellogg presented the making of an animation illustrating the Ibn al-Shatir sundial proposed for Observatory Park in Virginia for the Analemma Society.  One of the most color presentations was Art Paque’s update on Solargraphy, illustrating the technique of forming daily images of the sun a photographic paper that at the last is digitally scanned and preserved.

Attachments:
Download this file (2013_Conference_BostonCambridge_MA.pdf)2013 Conference BostonCambridge_MA[2013 NASS Annual Conference]822 kB

Read more: 2013 Conference - Boston/Cambridge

nass_news_2012_aug_nass_1The North American Sundial Society held its 2012 conference in Asheville NC, August 16-19.  Alice Io Oglesby and Hugh Munro, local hosts and sundial enthusiasts, took NASS members on a sundial tour through Asheville and the rolling hills of western North Carolina to see the vertical dials at Sunny Point Café and the analemmatic dial of the “kitchen garden” at the Biltmore Estate.  In Burnsville, NASS members saw the Quilt Block Sundial, one of over 200 colourful quilt block paintings along the North Carolina Quilt Block Trail. NASS was welcomed by the Mayor of Burnsville and had the Quilt Block sundial explained by Bob Hampton, astronomer designer and Martin Weaver artist. The Quilt Block Sundial in Burnsville was a most impressive example of teamwork and community support. Travelling further, Brian Leonard showed the armillary sundial he fabricated and installed in Marshall, NC.

The NASS conference included exciting talks on a colourful “Parallel Time East West Sundial” presented by new NASS member Peggy Gunnerson and shadow alignments at Toshogu Shrine by Barry Duell of the Tokyo International University.  Frank King talked about a most unusual circular analemmatic dial he designed for the Metropolitana of Naples (an Italian job).  Dr. King was also this year’s recipient of the Sawyer Dialing Prize.  Roger Bailey discussed dials of Mallorca and the “Box of Sapphires”, a compendium designed by Ibn al-Shatir in the 14th century. Fred Sawyer gave a most interesting talk on “Projected Refraction Sundials with Ambigram”, and at the NASS dinner on Saturday, he distributed a special gift to NASS participants: a location specific projected refraction sundial with the ambigram showing “CARPE” on the dial and “DIEM” in the projected shadow.  Other speakers with interesting presentations included Alice Io Oglesby, Bill Gottesman, Dudley Warner and Ken Clark.  Next year’s conference is being planned for Boston.

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Photos shown: (Top) NASS conference participants underneath Bob Hampton's Quilt Block Dial; (Bottom Left) NASS members examine Alice Oglesby and Hugh Munro's vertical dial at Sunny Point Cafe; and (Bottom Right) Bob Hampton's Equatorial Dial made from a bent yardstick.

Read more: 2012 Conference - Asheville

2011_UnivPrepAcademyPillarDialSeattle: Sundial Capital of the United States?  The 2011 North American Sundial Society had perfect blue-sky weather for its annual conference held in August 2011.  Professor Woodruff “Woody” Sullivan, conference host at University of Washington started the fest by showing off the large vertical sundial built in 1994 on the side of the Physics and Astronomy Building.

The conference covered a wide range of topics including two presentations on stained glass sundials, the 17th work of La Hire and his successful "La Gnomonique ou L'art de tracer Des Cadrans" ("Gnomonicks or The Art of Shadows of Sundials") and dialist-surveyor and one of the founding members of the Acadamie Royale,  Jean Picard. The methods of taking photos of the sun over months of time, called Solargraphy, was presented by Art Paque, and then there were talks on the operation of cylindrical sundials, sundials that can show standard time, an update on the Mars sundial, and discussions on solar alignments, heliodons and stair shadows.

Helmut Sonderegger, this year’s recipient of the Sawyer Dialing Prize discussed the Rheticus Memorial sundial designed for Georg Joachim Rheticus, the first Copernican. 

Download the PDF and read about the conference in detail, including the bus tour of Seattle dials visiting the Pillar Dial of University Prep Academy, Epiphany School Vertical Dial, and Rebecca Cummins analemma and colored skylights in the ceiling of the Montrose Public Library.

Attachments:
Download this file (2011 NASS Conference Seattle.pdf)2011 NASS Conference Seattle.pdf[NASS Annual Conference]1005 kB

2010_GottesmanPond_SundialFrom paper sundials to street side sundials, NASS celebrated its annual conference in Burlington, VT.  Kate Pond’s “Come Light, Visit Me” sundial, in collaboration with Bill Gottesman, was dedicated at Champlain College.  The sundial uses the properties of an equatorial ring, casting the shadows of time upon itself.

Fred Sawyer talked about Antique Hour Lines, showing finally that the lines are amazingly complex, but come very close, but not exactly to the traditional notion of a straight line.  André Bouchard discussed Le Gnomoniste, a review of the Quebec sundial society 1993-2010.  Roger Bailey gave a short presentation on the solstice points on analemmatic sundials that can be used as sight lines for summer and winter solstice. Roger Bailey gave a detailed talk on the Ibn Al-Shatir Sundial, whose design he studied in detail to produce the Ottoman Garden dial in Missouri.

 Bert Willard, the Springfield Telescope makers Historian and Curator described the sundials and sunclocks from James Hartness and Russell Porter.  Porter is also know for his leadership in amateur astronomy.  Jack Aubert probed into the question of who was first to describe the Equation of Time and the figure “8” analemma.  Finding that the first to draw it with reference to a mean time meridian was Grandjean de Fouchy at the Palace de Petit Luxembourg in Paris sometime before 1741.

Attachments:
Download this file (NASS_2010_Conference.pdf)2010 NASS Conference Burlington[NASS Annual Conference]8605 kB

2009_ClarkAnalemmicEquatorialThe Portland tour of sundials included Colby Lamb’s Sundial and workshop, a patio sundial of Rob and Julie Brown that also served as a water sprinkler, a vertical mosaic dial at Stephenson Elementary School, the analemmatic sundial at Marylhurst University designed by John Schilke of NASS and Jan Dabrowski, and across the Willamette River to Reed College and a 1912 vertical sundial designed by Dr. F. L. Griffin.  Then more sundials at the National History Site, Fort Vancouver, and ending with the Clark College Equatorial Sundial with a new analemmic gnomon.  Roger Bailey outlined how he helped Soap Lake’s monumental sculpture become a summertime sundial.  Bill Gottesman showed a realization of Fred Sawyer’s Horizontal Equant Dial that adjusts by simple rotation for the Equation of Time.  And most interesting was Silvio Magnani’s presentation on an interactive reflecting heliochronometer in Milan, Italy.  Read about this and much, much more by downloading the PDF.

Attachments:
Download this file (2009_NASSConference_Portland.pdf)2009 NASS Conference Portland[NASS Annual Conference]2635 kB