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.

 
 
Andalusia Alabama USA Reflective Equatorial Dial 894
This dial is one of Bill Gottesman's uniquely designed Renaissance dials of cast and structural bronze with a 27 inch diameter time telling helix whose axis is aligned to the celestial-north pole. Time is told by a focused beam of light from a long cylindrical unsilvered mirror situated on that N-S axis, reflecting sunlight into a slit of light onto the helix, telling time throughout the day. A sliding time scale within the helix is adjusted for longitude, date's equation of time correction and daylight saving time. Once this scale is adjusted for date, the dial shows civil (local clock) time with an accuracy of under one minute. The dial base is cast bronze that allows adjustment for latitude and is placed on a sandstone plinth.
 
 
Grand Rapids Michigan USA Horizontal Dial 893
A cast iron statue of boy, painted gold, holds a plate on top of his head that held the original sundial face, surrounded by an inscription and ornamentation. The statue is bolted to a concrete pedestal. With the original sundial gnomon removed, a new oversized horizontal dial has been carelessly bolted onto the top plate. The gnomon and dial face imply it is a British reproduction, totally unsuited for the Michigan location. The dial face is ornate, with a compass rose in the center, surrounded by a chapter ring divided in 15 minute intervals. A second, outer chapter ring divides time into 5 minute intervals. Time is indicated with Roman numeral hour marks. Dial in good alignment, but illuminated by the sun only during early morning.
 
 
Grand Rapids Michigan USA Analemmatic Dial 892
The brightly colored analemmatic dial is approx 10.5 feet in diameter, surrounded by a ring of alternating red and white concrete with cardinal points. Time marks are set in a ring of black concrete, with large engraved hour numbers. Time is adjusted for daylight saving time.[Note that to tell time correctly, the time marks should be set on an ellipse.] The walkway for standing to cast your shadow has monthly names impressed into the concrete.
 
 
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. Their 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.
 
 
Palo Pinto Texas USA Horizontal Dial 890
The 21 inches in diameter sundial started as a sculpture. A call went out to the boy and girl scouts (and alum men and women) to contributed fossils, and other artifacts. This included an arrowhead found at camp. These objects were incorporated into the finished wax, with the arrowhead embedded on the style edge at the very tip of the gnomon. A mold was taken of the completed sculpture and used to create a casting wax replica of the sculpture.
 
 
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.
 
 
Monegaw Springs Missouri USA Compass Dial 888
This compass is carved in rock showing cardinal points. For some reason the N mark is backward and a W mark is upside down. A surrounding circle of 10 inches in diameter defines most of the compass. A smaller circle encompasses the letter N and a partial circle carved from the center is approximately 4 inches in diameter.
 
 
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), 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.
 
 
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.