Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Selected Sundials of Massachusetts

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

Amherst Massachusetts USA Stonehenge Dial 523
On the fields of U-Mass is a replica of an American Indian sun-wheel. A circle 130 feet in diameter has 14 major stones weighing 56 tons, 12 minor stones, and 4 flat stones at the center. 2 major stones mark the N and S cardinal points; a pair of portal stones mark the E and W points allowing an uninterrupted view of sunrise and sunset at the equinoxes; 4 stones mark sunrise and sunset at the solstices; and 4 more stones mark the extreme northern and southern positions of moonrise and moonset. Guided presentations can be arranged by calling 413-545-4311.
Andover Massachusetts USA Armillary Dial 40
A very large and ornate armillary sphere, approximately 8 feet in diameter. Sculpted by Paul Manship in 1928 and cast by Alexis Rudier Fondeur in Paris. The armillary has large figures inside the sphere at the base and the equatorial circle has signs of the zodiac in raised metalwork. The dial sits atop a well proportioned light granite pillar that is about 3 foot high and 4 foot diameter.
Boston Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial 280
A bronze horizontal dial with bronze figures of a bird with baby birds in nest and worm as gnomon.
Boston Massachusetts USA Vertical Decliner Dial 41
High on east facing wall of the Old State House, is a vertical declining originally built in 1713. The 6x4 foot dial is just above the third story window. Restored by R.N. Mayall in 1957. Background is faded blue. Hour lines are hard to see, but Roman numerals along edge are clearly visible. In upper left corner of dial, just above the gnomon, is a small yellow sun. No longer present; may have been removed during restoration in late 1990s. Sundial has been replaced with a clock.
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial 556
A stone horizontal dial on a pedestal about 4 ft. high donated to Harvard by class of 1870.
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial 45
Painted Dial
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial 557
A well-patinaed horizontal bronze dial on a stone pillar.
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Collection Dial 125
Harold C. Ernst Collection Ernest G. Yalden Collection
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Collection Dial 126
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial 190
Approx 2' x 2' Bronze Square bronze plate, with Roman numerals, is open in the center. Gnomon extends through this open space. Dial is mounted above a window of the chapel, angled from wall face. (presumably so that it will face true South.)
Cambridge Massachusetts USA Polar Dial 725
A small polar dial with Arabic numerals for EST and EDST
Charlestown Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial 268
A 10 foot diameter bronze and granite horizontal dial with bronze gnomon and Arabic hour numerals on a 2 foot high granite base. Craftspeople of Colonial days are pictured on the face of the sundial. Sculptures depict a grandpa holding a baby while looking at the dial from the east side and a child peeking from behind the 5 foot tall bronze gnomon. Each bronze hour numeral includes a scene sculpture.
Danvers Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial 42
An east- declining vertical wood dial above the main doorway of the Rebecca Nurse House. Rebecca Nurse was a victim of the Salem witch trials in 1692. The House was restored in 1909 and it is believed this dial was added at that time; there is no evidence the house originally had a sundial.
Dartmouth Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial 163
1820 Federal style building owned by the Univ. of Mass. at Dartmouth. Referred to as the Sundial building because of a vertical dial over the main entrance.
Dover Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial 808
The horizontal dial is in the spiral shape of a Nautilus. The dial was originally built in the 1920's and located at Amelia Peabody's Sun House at 145 Powisset Stree in Dover, MA.
Foxboro Massachusetts USA Vertical Dial 43
Very large vertical dial mounted above the entrance to the Foxboro Research Center. With solstice and equinox lines and a noon analemma.
Gloucester Massachusetts USA Horizontal Dial 44
Greenfield Massachusetts USA Hours To Sunset Dial 475
A 5 foot diameter pink Canadian granite horizontal hours-until-sunset dial. The 8 inch thick granite slab weighs 2000 pounds and rests on a short recessed pedestal, appearing to float above the grass dome of a memorial garden. Lines for hour periods 2-12 are marked with Arabic numerals. The gnomon is a 3/8 inch brass rod protruding 4 inches above the dial face. The dial face is engraved, "HOURS UNTIL SUNSET" and, "READ TIP OF SHADOW." This sundial does not function in the usual manner that tells time of day. Rather, this dial tells the number of hours from the present time of day to the time of sunset. These are equal-period hours counted down until sunset. Since it shows a time period, rather than time-of-day, the dial accuracy is not affected by season of year, daylight saving time or longitude location within the local time zone. Further, this particular design uses a horizontal dial face, while most hours-until-sunset dials use a vertical face. This dial is dedicated as a memorial to Dr. Pallav Parakh, a much-loved surgeon who was killed in a tragic auto accident while walking in a crosswalk.
Milton Massachusetts USA Vertical Decliner Dial 92
A vertical south facing dial made of painted mahogany with an aluminum gnomon. The dial is in the shape of a shield 3 foot tall by 2 1/2 foot wide, following the seal of the Milton Academy. Around the edge are the hours in Roman numeral. An Equation of Time correction table is now missing, but does not detract from the beauty of the dial.
Nantucket Massachusetts USA Horizontal and Gnomonic Dial 513
A combination of horizontal dial and gnomonic projection dial. The dial is about 2 x 3 feet made of DuPont Corian sitting upon a simple wood pedestal. A small horizontal dial about 8 inches in diameter with a triangular brass gnomon tells Daylight Saving Time using Roman numerals. Then a larger gnomonic dial is inscribed on the remaining surface, telling time from the shadow of the tip of the triangular gnomon. The gnomonic dial has hourly analemmas,telling time using Arabic numbers in Standard Time. Both dial lines are offset for the longitude of 70 degrees west. The gnomonic dial has declination lines for each month. A small analemma on the meridian has the letters of the months, indicating how to read the hourly analemmas depending upon the date. The dial is built to be read from the north, so the user's shadow does not interfere.