Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Sundials of North America

This is a complete listing of sundials in the North American Sundial Society Registry. Click on any dial thumbnail picture or city name to display our complete listing and images. To see sundials in a particular state or province, you may click on the list at left to see all registered sundials in that state, province or country (at bottom) displayed in city order.

 
 
Natchez Mississippi USA Horizontal Dial 887
In 1716 the French built a fort on the bluffs of Natchez and named it Rosalie in honor of the Countess of Pontchartrain. In 1820 Peter Little, who came to Natchez from Pennsylvania in 1798 at the age of 17, purchased a portion of that land on which to build his home. He decided to keep the name Rosalie in honor of the fort and its settlers. The mansion and land was purchased in 1938 by Mississippi State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution.
 
 
Ridgeland Mississippi USA Vertical Dial 886
This is a small 7 x 10 inch vertical dial declining due south. It is made from wood with hour lines, half hour lines, and Roman numerals engraved using a wood burning tool. The simple gnomon is 1/8 inch steel.
 
 
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.
 
 
Wills Point Texas USA Horizontal Dial 884
This starburst sundial is 6-3/4 inches in diameter, made of 1/8 inch aluminum plate. The dial is actually set in a 12-point compass rose, showing the azimuth every 30 degrees. Time marks are every 15 minutes with hours in Arabic numerals. All marking, latitude, longitude, and inscription are engraved into the dial plate.
 
 
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). 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."
 
 
Perryville Missouri USA Horizontal Dial 882
The square 14.5-inch dial is made of while milk stone with graphics highlighted using lithochrome paint. The gnomon is made of stainless steel 303-alloy and has the letter P held between the base and style. The dial sits upon a square frustrum pedestal 3-feet tall, 24-inches square at the base, tapering to 17.5-inches at the top. The pedestal is supported on a 32-inch square base.
 
 
La Canada California USA Equatorial Dial 881
The bronze equatorial dial is about 24" diameter, and has equatorial, meridian and horizon rings. It sits on top of a stone pedestal. The equatorial ring is supported by 24 spokes, spaced at 15 degrees. Around the rim 24 hour numerals in Arabic. The twelve signs of the zodiac are spaced every other hour on the equatorial rim. The orientation to true north and inclination were verified to be correct for the site. The sundial was a gift from the Kresser Smith family to the Descanso Gardens Guild in 1987 on the occasion of the guild's 30th anniversary.
 
 
Washington District of Columbia USA Horizontal Dial 880
This simple bronze sundial about 12 inches in diameter sits on a 3-foot fluted plinth made from Indiana limestone. Embossed hour lines extend from 5am to 7pm delineated every 15 minutes. Surrounding the hour chapter are Roman numerals with the noon hour marked by "0". The gnomon is very attractive, with a bird ensconced between the style and base. The dial was given to Howard University by the Lampados Club of Alpha Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in 1929 to honor Benjamin Banneker, 18th century astronomer, surveyor and executing architect of the District of Columbia.
 
 
Danville Vermont USA Vertical Dial 879
A simple vertical dial created on the front brick wall of the high school. There are no hour lines, but large Roman numerals are placed from 10am to 5pm to delineate the hours using Daylight Saving Time (where the 1pm hour is on the vertical). The gnomon is a simple rod.
 
 
Regina Saskatchewan Canada Vertical Dial 878
This vertical dial is mounted directly onto the stucco wall of the house. The gnomon is a triangle of aluminum cut from 3/16 inch sheet, with a 2-inch hole as a breather to relieve stress from cross winds. More interesting are the hour lines, made of a double strand of heavy copper wire, with each extending from winter to summer solstice, held with pegs (from Canadian Tire). A middle peg shows the equinox as well. Hour lines extend from 7am to 6pm, shown in simple Arabic numbers. The sundial is operational in clear weather from 8:30am - 6pm through all seasons.
 
 
Williamsburg Virginia USA Armillary Dial 877
This armillary is constructed of welded carbon steel narrow bands approximately 4-feet in diameter sitting on an iron post about 3-feet high. The equatorial band has no engraved or embossed time marks, but the simple rod gnomon has two side rods. According the the WPL website, "Time on the sundial is read by looking at where the gnomon shadow is cast. This shadow will be the middle, thicker shadow of the three shadow-lines ... Although hours are not marked off on this sundial, you can estimate the time of day by thinking of the gnomon shadow hoop as the clock face and the shadow as the hour hand of that clock." Well, not exactly. The hours are at 15-deg intervals with 12 noon at the bottom of the equatorial band at the intersection of the meridian band. This armillary is more of a sculpture than a timepiece. Yet the armillary has the traditional tropic of Capricorn and Cancer bands as well as Arctic, Antarctic,and horizontal bands.
 
 
Hawthorn Woods Illinois USA Equatorial Dial 876
This equatorial dial sits on a 61-inch octagonal base that serves as a columbarium. The dial is reminiscent of Erickson Memorial sundials. This granite sundial is 38.5 inches in diameter and 6 inches thick. The 3-inch diameter gnomon is made of hollow galvanized steel pipe with a white powder coating. The engraving on the sundial was done using a rubber stencil and sandblasting with aluminum oxide abrasive. No water jet was used. The center core hole was cut using a diamond segmented coring machine, like a big drill press with an expensive hole saw.
 
 
Lancaster Pennsylvania USA Heliochronometer Dial 875
This 7.5 inch diameter heliochronometer was milled out of aluminum and set to the site latitude with a mounting plate. One heliochronometer arm has a sun illumination counter sunk hole 0.125 inch in diameter and on the other arm an engraved analemma for proper pointing offset to display civil time. Time marks are milled at 5 minute intervals, and a vernier is added (5 lines 4 minutes apart) so that time can be read to the nearest minute.
 
 
Windsor Ontario Canada Vertical Dial 874
A vertical stone sundial made of white quartzite approximately in a 6 x 4 feet rectangle. The dial face includes engraved hour lines from 7am to 6pm in Arabic hour numerals for Eastern Daylight Time and an elegant engraved outline of St. Dimitrije based on a partially preserved 14th century fresco of the Saint in St.Mary's Church, Donja Kamenica, Serbia. Rather than summer and winter solstice lines, a single hyperbola indicates the route of the gnomon shadow's tip on 8 November - the day of St.Demetrius (St. Dimitrije). In fact, the gnomon is represented at St. Demetrius' sword (or more appropriately, his spear). A small bell is engraved at 10am indicating the time of morning liturgy. At about 11:15 if you look closely, you can see the subnode point (polos montaza) of the gnomon tip used for alignment during construction.
 
 
New York New York USA Sculpture Dial 873
The Sun Triangle is a 50-foot sculpture of polished stainless steel set upon a leaning 20-foot stainless steel pole, creating a futuristic look. The sides of the triangle are aligned such that steepest side points to the sun at noon for the summer solstice at an altitude of 73 degrees at solar noon (12:48pm Daylight Saving Time) while the lower side of the triangle points to the winter solstice at an angle of 26 degrees. The upper side and longest side of the triangle points to the the noonday sun on the spring and fall equinoxes.
 
 
Augusta Maine USA Horizontal Dial 872
This historic brass dial is about 18 inches in diameter, set upon a square, concrete pillar. The dial plate has Roman numbers and is delineated in quarter hours. Magnetic variation is engraved at degree intervals. The dial originally had a removable wood cover, then a metal one, which became permanently closed. It was removed in 2009 and now has a plexiglass cover. From Betty Adams in the Kennebec Journal, "At the uncovering, a half dozen people strained to read some of the lettering on the dial: 'Arc for magnetic variation', [and on an interior circle] 'Moses B. Bliss - Circumferentor' which means surveyor's compass... The meridian monument was one of those erected at county courthouses in Maine between 1869 and 1871, according to research by Harold E. Nelson, senior geodesist at the Maine Department of Transportation's property office...Nelson said the monument would have been used by local land surveyors to test their compasses against true north."
 
 
Oro Valley Arizona USA Analemmatic Dial 871
This analemmatic sundial is painted on concrete. It is similar to John Carmichael's human sundial at Flandrau Planetarium at the University of Arizona. The orange background was painted by hand with acrylic paint on top of the blue acrylic court surface. Lettering and other markings were painted with Rustoleum spray enamel using stencils from Stencilease.com. Final touch up painting was done by hand. It took a three man team ten days to paint. It's quarter hour time marks are longitude corrected and shows Standard Time when readings are adjusted using the Equation of Time. It includes a central Date Line for standing, using monthly and weekly marks. There is a Solar Noon mark, and Bailey Points to indicate the direction of sunrise and sunset.
 
 
Waring Texas USA Vertical Dial 870
This is a rare American stained glass sundial, accurately telling time and season. It occupies the center panel of a five panel window that forms a cross. The vertical sundial panel measures 28x28 inches and declines 48° west of south, so it only functions in the afternoons. The dial is longitude corrected and indicates Daylight Saving Time when readings are adjusted using the Equation of Time. The gnomon is a 3/4 inch brass ball nodus attached by a non-polar axis rod to the aluminum Sussman window frame. It is the only stained glass sundial in the world that uses frosted colored stained glass to enhance the view of the nodus shadow. It has three seasonal date lines, a solar noon mark, and other marks showing special anniversary dates. It contains the traditional fly, seen on the the lower yellow panel between 1pm and 1:30pm.
 
 
Gainesville Florida USA Vertical Dial 869
The oblong 28 inch long x 14 inch high vertical dial appears to be cast aluminum, painted black, but with much of the paint worn off. The dial plate is surrounded with a motif of decorative fish, star fish, shells and scales. The hour lines are most peculiar. The lines are numbered from 7am to 5pm, but there are two more morning and evening hour lines, none of which are horizontal that would be expected for 6am and 6pm. In laying a proper set of hour lines for latitude 29.658 on top of a photograph of the dial, the hours from 9am to 3pm appear nearly correct. The 8am and 4pm hour lines appear at what is really 8:30/3:30, the 7am and 5pm hour lines appear at what is really 8:00/4:00. The last two dial hour angles for morning or evening are totally irreconcilable. The brass gnomon, in the shape of a downward pointing arrow, is bent, but perhaps more disconcerting is that it is mounted on a pivot, indicating that it can be moved to different latitudes. The dial, although decorative, certainly is not a worthy timepiece.
 
 
Bay Fortune Prince Edward Island Canada Horizontal Dial 868
A brass, horizontal dial about 14 inches in diameter sits on a stone pedestal with a red marble cap. Embossed Roman numbers mark the hours from 4am to 8pm, and delineated every 10 minutes. Radiating from the center are pointed leaves to each hour. The dial plate green patina is marred by graffiti and the gnomon has broken off. A restoration for this dial is planned using the original gnomon.