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How to Make a Sundial, How Does a Sundial Work and Some Sundial History


Sundials aren't history

Many people think of sundials as nothing more than historical curiosities. How wrong can you be? Sundials are fantastic things to have in your garden, incredibly beautiful focal points just like any urn or garden sculpture.

But sundials are so much more too:

  • Fascinating scientific instruments
  • A link with history
  • A surprisingly intimate way to personalize
  • A connection to the universe
  • A means to live life slower (and don't we all need that?)

Sounds over the top? Read on and find out just how interesting sundial are.


In this lens, you will find brief summaries of how sundials work and the history of sundials; information about famous sundials; pointers to instructions for how to make a sundial for kids young and old; ideas for how to use sundials in the garden; tips to help buy a sundial that really will tell the time; sundials to buy from ebay and sundial books to buy from Amazon. There are also links to more detailed information and lots of very pretty pictures of sundials!

Famous sundials

Just to whet your appetite

There are loads of amazing sundials in the world. This is just a taster, with pictures of some of the most famous sundials, contemporary and from history, showing something of the huge diversity. Click on the sundials to see a larger photo on Flickr.


The Sundial Bridge

The beautiful Sundial Bridge spans the Sacramento River at Redding, California. The bridge is a working sundial: a 217 foot high fin casts a shadow on a huge garden-lined dial plate at the north end. For engineering reasons, it is not completely accurate. To see more photos, do a Flickr search - there are many fantastic photos of the Sundial Bridge.


Bewcastle Cross sundial

This is the oldest existing sundial in the UK. A vertical sundial is carved into a richly decorated Anglo-Saxon cross at Bewcastle in Cumbria, probably in the late seventh century. The sundial is the fan-shaped carving near the top of the photo. Another very early sundial (about 1050 AD) is carved above the door of St Gregory Minster in Yorkshire, England. You can see a photo here as well as some of the old English lettering that surrounds the sundial.


The Tower of the Winds

Built in the marketplace at Athens in around 50BC, the octagonal tower bears a relief sculpture of a wind god on each face. Underneath each sculpture is a sundial, each engraved differently for the direction.Thumbnail by Andreas Trepte,


Samrat Yantra

Huge equatorial sundial in Jaipur, India, built in the eighteenth century. The time is told from the shadow of a fifty-step staircase. Not particularily accurate.

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Queens' College sundial

Elaborate early eighteenth century sundial at a Cambridge University college. As well as the time, this sundial shows the signs of the zodiac, the sun's altitude and direction, the time of sunrise and the length of the day. It also enables timetelling by moonlight. Read more about the Queens' college sundial. Photo by Throwawayhack.

These websites have information about all aspects of sundials.

How does a sundial work?


The basic idea is simple. A sundial has a pointer - called a gnomon - and the shadow cast by the gnomon when the sun shines follows a predictable path through the day. The path can be marked with hours to tell the time.

Sounds too simple? Well, it is a little bit more complicated than that.

The trouble is that the predictable shadow path changes through the year. There are two reasons for this:

  • The earth follows an elliptical orbit around the sun
  • The earth's tilted axis

As a result, the shadow cast by the gnomon moves at different speeds and to slightly different places at different times of the year. Dialists - sundial makers - call this "solar time".

Luckily, the difference between solar time and clock time can be corrected with maths. Dialists use angled gnomons and the "equation of time" to correct their sundials. See below for links to explanations of this.

There is a further correction that needs to be made if a sundial is to match clock time.

Modern time zones (for example the Greenwich Mean Time zone) tell the time for large areas. The shadow cast by the gnomon of a sundial tells the time for the exact position of the sundial.

So the hour lines on a sundial need to be adjusted so the shadow tells the time for its time zone instead of its exact position. Unless, of course, a sundial is set exactly on the Meridian.

That's the basics. But there is a lot more mathematical matter behind sundials. If you want to find out more, use the links below.

Find out more about how sundials work - Websites

The theory behind how sundials work is quite complicated. And a lot of the material out there is written by passionate dialists immersed in their subject and its jargon. This can be a bit hard to swallow. Persevere if you want to learn about sundials. It will make sense eventually.

  • How sundials work
    Very simple explanation, with pictures from the National Museums Liverpool, UK
  • The Suntracker
    Simple program which shows how the path of the sun changes at different times of the year and at different latitudes. Also from the National Museums Liverpool
  • The Sundial Primer
    Lots of information about how sundials work, different types of sundials and how to make them. Very mathematical.
  • Timescales
    Chronology of how time has been measured, including explanations of solar time.
  • Analemma
    Good explanations and animations of the earth's tilted axis and elliptical orbit.

Different types of sundials

This is not an exhaustive list. Just an outline of the main sorts of sundials.


Horizontal sundials: This is what most people think of as a sundial: a horizontal dial face with an angled gnomon, set in a pretty English garden.

They are pretty, but they are far from the end of the story.


Vertical sundials: Often attached to the side of a building, vertical sundials are, well, vertical. Historically, many were placed on churches. In the middle ages in Britain, sundials were literally scratched onto the walls of churches, probably to show the hours of church services. These scratch sundials (see this ancient example from Northamptonshire, UK) are a type of vertical sundial.

Equatorial sundials: These sundials have a dial plate that is tilted at an angle parallel to the equator. The gnomon is then set at right angles to the dial plate, parallel to the earth's axis. This is another way to solve some of the timetelling peculiarities caused by the tilt in the earth's axis.


Armillary sundials: A type of equatorial dial. In ancient times, armillary spheres were used to demonstrate the working of the solar system.

Modern versions are sundials, casting a timetelling shadow from a rod running through the centre of the sphere onto an encircling band.

Portable sundials: Mainly historical. The sundial equivalent of a watch.

Analemma: This unusual type of sundial does not tell the time, just the date. It works from the fact that if you marked the position of the sun in the sky every day for a year at, say, noon, you would trace out a figure of eight. The analemma shows this figure of eight, with markings for dates.

Sundials videos on YouTube

The first video shows very well how latitude affects sundial timetelling, and how setting the gnomon at an angle will make a sundial work correctly. The second video is an interesting historical look at time telling.

The MacDonald's billboard sundial video is a timelapse showing how the shadow cast by a gnomon moves across the face of a sundial, in this case to indicate which MacDonald product is best to buy at different times. The company searched far and wide for a billboard at the right angle to work as a sundial over breakfast hours. And it only worked for a few months! But the company received loads of publicity. The idea was replicated in an ad for the Dark is Deadly XBox game - see here.

The last video illustrates sundial artist David Harber's work in action.

Sundials in the garden

Think again if you thought that all sundials have to offer in the garden is an olde worlde horizontal piece in a flowery nook evoking a charming English country garden atmosphere.

In the garden, sundials are remarkably versatile and beautiful focal points.


Armillary spheres, for example, are elegant and refined statuary when made of bronze; made of stainless steel, they are glittering contemporary sculptures.

Armillary spheres also have the advantage of not hiding the vista beyond, so they can work well in smaller gardens.

A vertical sundial above the entrance to your home - perhaps with the house name engraved - gives visitors a memorable welcome. Vertical sundials can also cover up flaws in the wall behind.


Then there's garden obelisks - stunning dramatic features in any garden.

Though they cannot accurately tell the time (they have no gnomon), the shadow cast by an obelisk can mark dates. Ground markers can be inserted around an obelisk to indicate family birthdays, for example.

Which brings me to personalization, something sundials are particularly suited to. Mottoes are traditional on sundials. If you pick an appropriate one and combine it with significant date markers on the sundial's timetelling face, you have the most perfect and intimate wedding/anniversary/birthday gift imaginable.

"The only possibility in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity in freedom in the sense that dancers are free, barely touching as they pass but patterns in the same pattern"

This touching quotation comes from a personalized sundial, an anniversary gift made by the celebrated dialist David Harber for his wife. Very romantic.

Being so particular to their own time and place, Sundials also lend themselves to personalization with dates and directions. This is another David Harber example showing the exact latitude and longitude of a sundial at the famous and very old St Paul's School in London, England.

Harber is a terrific current practitioner of sundials as garden art (or see his sundials website for the US or any Russian readers (?) can see His creations are accurate sundials of all kinds, with a specialism in armillary spheres as well as other garden items like water features. David Harber's sundials are also stunning garden art, often very contemporary, that puts paid to the notion that sundials are nothing but historical curiosities.

View some examples of David Harber's sundials below. You can also see his work on Facebook, Pinterest or Flickr.

Garden Art: David Harber's sundials

Below is a detail of a Moon Sundial by David Harber showing the pointers that mark the spot where the moon's shadow will hit the dial on the day of a full moon and the three days before and after when there is enough light for the moondial to function at night. The Moon Sundial is also a fully functional daytime sundial.


More David Harber sundials (click the photos to see them larger on Flickr or Pinterest):




At the famous
RHS Chelsea
Flower Show






Nearly twelve
o'clock on a

Sundial project: make a sundial with your kids - Sundials for kids

Making a simple sundial is a good way to keep the kids away from the playstation for several hours if you help them. And if you complete the project, children do seem to remain interested.

Making a sundial is surprisingly easy and will teach your children a lot about how the solar system works. And creating a real working sundial is very satisfying for kids.

To make a horizontal sundial, all you will need are scissors, tape, heavy card and a compass. Oh and the sun of course!

There are loads of instructions on how to build a sundial on the web. Most of them have print-outs with the hour lines ready drawn to make things easy. There are also a few books suitable for kids. I have listed some of the best of both here.

How to make a sundial - websites:

  • BBC make a sundial
    Make a horizontal sundial: easy, aimed at kids, with photo instructions
  • Make your own sundial from the National Maritime Museum, London
    Another horizontal sundial to build, with print out instructions and template for the sundial base and gnomon. Nicely designed.
  • How to make a sundial for your ceiling
    A really fun idea - a long term project to turn the ceiling into a sundial by marking the position of the sun's reflection from a mirror. If you are artistic, the markings could then be painted for a really unusual and interesting room decoration. Spot dials like this are not uncommon in history, though typically they marked noon on the floor of churches.
  • Sundial fryer
    Another major build a sundial project: PDF instructions to make a sundial out of a frying pan! Not for the fainthearted, requires metalworking experience.
  • Make your own vertical sundial
    Also tricky: to make a vertical sundial - aka wall sundial - requires more maths than horizontal or equatorial dials. You need to know exactly where the dial is facing. The instructions are straightforward.
  • Lego sundials
    Not as easy as it sounds. Three tiny little sundials with instructions and large photos. Again, for older children
  • Personalized sundial template from Google Maps
    Not sure how well this works but it's a very cool idea

How to make a sundial - books:

A more serious child's guide to sundials

If you would like to embark on some proper teaching, Make a Sundial is a guide published by the British Sundial Society originally as a school textbook. It is mainly for children under 11, but there are some projects to build a sundial for the older child. Details can be found near the top of the Books and Publications page of the British Sundials Society. The page also has details of many other sundial books and pamphlets,as well as booksellers who may stock rarer items.

History of sundials: ancient sundials

Sundials today are decorative and interesting. In history, they were also practical timetelling devices. This was true even after mechanical clocks appeared because clocks were inaccurate until the twentieth century. Sundials were needed to correct them.


Nobody knows who invented the sundial. The earliest existing sundial is Egyptian, from around 1500BC. The Greeks built on the primitive Egyptian ideas and developed accurate sundials, many in prominent places in the Greek Empire.

The Romans too built accurate sundials to tell the time. Shepherds carried small portable ones. An interesting practice, symbolic of Roman power, was transporting old Egyptian obelisks to Rome and setting them up as sundials in public places.

Much of this sundial expertise disappeared in the dark ages. When sundials reappeared, they were less sophisticated, with incorrectly angled gnomons and often marking the times of church services instead of what we think of as real time.

The Arabs rediscovered how to make accurate sundials in the late middle ages and this knowledge somehow (like much of Arabic expertise at this time, nobody is really sure how) made its way back to the West.

See below for what happened next.

Buy a Sundial Book at Amazon

Fun for kids: human sundials


Making a human sundial is another major sundial project, but it does have lasting educational and play value.

The basic idea is that you create a sundial face on a large flat sunny area by painting or fixing time markers on the ground.

The gnomon is a person, standing in the center of the face, casting the shadow that tells the time. The photo illustrates the concept. Like all other sundials, each human sundial must be tailor-made to its own latitude and longitude.

Creating a human sundial can be as simple or as complicated as you choose. Crayola provides some easy instructions for a rough and ready human sundial suitable for quite young kids using trial and error and chalk.

By contrast, the human sundial in the photo (it's in New Mexico) is properly calibrated and is made with engraved stones set into the grass.

You can buy inexpensive kits that provide instructions for setting up a human sundial for your latitude and longitude.

The kits are popular with schools - this project requires a lot of work and spans a number of academic disciplines. But for parents more dedicated that I could ever be, this is an opportunity to create something beautiful and fascinating with your children.

If you are interested, Sunclocks in the UK is the major supplier for the Northern hemisphere - owner Douglas Hunt pioneered the idea. For the southern hemisphere, see human sundials in Australia.

Sundials for learning is a much newer supplier of what this company calls the Sundial of Human Involvement. The website is very helpful.

A clever idea - indoor sundials


Sundials need the sun so they have to be placed outdoors, right?

Nope, not with the Spectra sundial, a modern sundial that follows in the tradition of ingenious sundial making.

The dial is designed to sit on a windowsill or other sunny spot indoors and tell the time as it beams vibrant color into the room. All that is necessary is that it is rotated to face the proper direction and that it is placed in the sun.

So this sundial does still need the sun. But it does mean you and your children can enjoy the fascination of a sundial from inside the house.

History of sundials: modern times

The sixteenth to eighteenth centuries were the heyday of sundials. Although clocks existed, they lost time fast, so sundials were needed to correct them. Gnomonics, the study of sundials, was an important academic subject; and the craft of making scientific instrumentation developed by leaps and bounds. Powered by these factors, huge numbers of beautiful and accurate sundials of many different kinds were made all over Europe for both practical use and for decoration.

Amongst the sundials made during these centuries were:


Polyhedral dials: sundials built on mathematical solids, often beautiful and richly engraved. The picture shown is of a carved ivory polyhedral sundial from Hans Holbein's painting, The Ambassadors. Click on the photo to see a different metal example.

Pocket sundials: the boy's toys of yesteryear, showing readings not just of time but also date, compass direction, astrological information and more. Often exquisitely engraved ivory or brass with a flip top.


Scottish multiple dials: Unique to Scotland. Obelisk shaped structures smothered with sundials - 20, 30 and even 40 are not uncommon. Sundials were remarkably popular in Scotland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. (See Sundials of Scotland). Interestingly, David Harber (see above) has brought the tradition to life again in a pillar sundial he created for Sunrise Senior Living in Wolverhampton, UK.

Gradually, as clocks became more accurate, sundials fell out of favour, although French railwaymen were reputedly still using them as late as 1900 to regulate the times of trains.

Recently, sundials have been undergoing another renaissance as decorative ornaments.

Find out more about the history of sundials

Buy a sundial on eBay

As ever, be careful when buying from eBay. Common sense and a check of a sellers' reputation are always a good idea. And bear in mind the precautions specific to sundial mentioned below. But if you are simply looking for something pretty to go in the garden, there are good deals to be had...

What to watch out for when you buy a sundial

These tips only apply if you want to buy a sundial that tells accurate clock time.

If you are buying from a well-known sundial maker, there shouldn't be a problem anyway. But if you are buying a cheap horizontal dial, you need to be more careful.

Many cheap sundials are technically excellent. Others are not. You need to check:

  • That the gnomon points to 12.00, or 1.00 if your sundial is set for summer time.
  • That the gnomon is straight and simple. You can't read the time off a curvy shadow.
  • That the gnomon has been set at an angle equal to your latitude if the dial is flat; or that the dial plate is set at an angle equal to your latitude with the gnomon set at a right angle to the dial plate.Sounds a bit complicated I know, but if the gnomon is set wrong, there is no way a simple sundial can tell the right time.

    This page finds your latitude on a Google map. Or you can look it up on a map.

Slow down. Stop thinking about yourself

We all live too fast nowadays, right?

Put a sundial in your garden and you will find yourself drawn to watch it. Slowly. Because sundials don't move fast. Watch the timetelling shadow crawl across the dial face and feel the years slip away as you connect with an older, slower way of life.

You will also find yourself drawn to think about the heavens. How can you fail to once you understand that it is the earth's orbit around the sun that is telling the time? And seeing the earth as but a small part of our solar system is a salutary change of perspective from the customary "me me me" thinking of modern life.

I'm not saying a sundial will change your life. But a break from today's hectic pace of living has got to be a good thing.

For Squidoo Members

If you like this lens...

In any event, please let us know below if you have further questions. We want to help!

Please tell me what you like and what you would like more of.

I would like this lens to be a complete introduction to sundials. So please use this guestbook to let me know if something is missing or could be done better.

Let me know what you think

yepppy on April 25, 2016:

this was awesome for a science project.

Cheryl on September 29, 2014:

I have one of those rainbow sundials in my home right now, and it is making the most wonderful colors for me as I enjoy my coffee this morning. Thanks for making this lense, now I can see other sundials that I might want to get one day!

frances lm (author) on April 12, 2013:

@jimconrad2: I just find them very interesting. There are so many angles - the science, the garden, the aesthetics, the history...

chickie99 on February 09, 2013:

now this is a cool lens. if we ever loose power for an extended time, this is the way to go!

hungry-deer on February 04, 2013:

This is a great lens, never read so much about sundials. Very interesting, thank you

opatoday on November 30, 2012:

I love learning thank you

jimconrad2 on November 23, 2012:

What inspired you to learn about sundials?

SYC2002 on November 19, 2012:

Very interesting...Thanks for info.

craftycollector on November 11, 2012:

Great lens. If I were still teaching, I would have used this in class

anonymous on October 20, 2012:

Thanks for putting all of these sundials husband got me one of the rainbow Spectra sundials for my birthday and it is awesome! Now maybe we will collect some more, because having a real high quality sundial has made me want more of them!

kulla on October 02, 2012:

Really interesting information on sundials. Liked it a lot

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on August 29, 2012:

Just had to return to this beautiful lens to refresh my memory and pin tweet it...

irminia on August 16, 2012:

This lens is simply wonderful! Sundials always seemed charming to me.

anonymous on August 04, 2012:

The information helped me a lot. Thanks!

anonymous on August 04, 2012:

This information helped me a lot in my project. Thanks!

steph-naylor on July 23, 2012:

This is a pretty cool lens!

JoshK47 on July 20, 2012:

How awesome - what a very well-written lens! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

shansand on July 16, 2012:

very informative lens. Thanks for the information.

TheGourmetCoffe on July 08, 2012:

Very interesting lens, learned a lot about sundials, thank you for your insight and great ideas. I also "liked" your lens!

anonymous on July 07, 2012:

How do you use a horizontal sundial necklaces, not the ring type, the one that has 2 rings inside each other then you push the inter ring out so one is vertical & the other one is horizontal. I have a pitcher but you don't have the option to download a picture.

valuabletimes on June 27, 2012:

Excellent lens!!! So interesting I read it all in a go. Great to see that you can make a Sundial yourself (and for sure I'll give it a try).

Thanks for making my day!

LemonSeo LM on May 07, 2012:

Excellent Lens, and great Information,

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on April 02, 2012:

Sundials have special charm. I hope I'll find some time to make one on mz own this summer. Have a sunny summer:)

Miha Gasper from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU on February 18, 2012:

Beautiful lens on very interesting subject. Thanks!

DakshaDesign1 on February 13, 2012:

I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives useful information.

alpacafarm on February 08, 2012:

Interesting lens. Enjoyed it!

jimmyworldstar on February 04, 2012:

Sundials look neat but I'll stick to my digital clocks.

Aquavel on January 05, 2012:

Awesome lens! Just added it as a Featured Lens to my lens "History of Time."

Anderotin on December 25, 2011:

Got a lot of useful and interesting information. Thank you.

jadehorseshoe on December 24, 2011:

Totally Excellent Lens!

TeacherSerenia on December 20, 2011:

Wonderful lens about the history of an unusual object - very interesting indeed.

gottaloveit2 on December 10, 2011:

Great lens. I've always loved sundials in garden settings.

SteveKaye on December 09, 2011:

This is an incredible example of an outstanding lens. I came back to squidoo after a 5 year absence, and I'm very impressed with the work people have posted. Thank you for posting this wonderful example of what to do.

I wonder, how long did it take you to make this lens? Where did you find the photos?

SIALicenceUK on November 04, 2011:

Looking to get one for the garden. Great lens thanks for sharing.

WoodlandBard on November 04, 2011:

Fabulous ideas and links. We have a Garden Of Labyrinths and this Lens reminds me that none of them have a sundial in the centre yet. This must be a winter project for us. Many thanks.

Shannon from Florida on September 22, 2011:

Great lens! Blessed and liked.

anilsaini on September 13, 2011:

nice one

AlyCat150 on August 29, 2011:

I love this lens! I've always found sundials cool, but I never really knew much about them.

lesliesinclair on August 06, 2011:

I did not realize that even kids can make sundials. This is a project for the future.

franstan lm on August 06, 2011:

This is a lens to be proud of.

ankit476 on June 22, 2011:

Its really a nice piece of information.

miaponzo on June 05, 2011:

This is amazing.. I have always LOVEd sundials.. and this lens is FULL of information! Thanks!

Chardoo on May 23, 2011:

What a great garden idea. I learned so much from your post.

momsfunny on May 01, 2011:

Sundials, for me is one of the best man-made creations ever! Iâve been wanting to know more about Sundials and thank you so much for explaining it well. I adore your lens. Great work

promotional-coupons-codes on April 18, 2011:

Great information. Thanks a lot.

Philippians468 on April 14, 2011:

thank you for sharing this knowledge! learnt more about the sundial from your lens! cheers

prince2-training-course on March 31, 2011:

fascinating stuff

michael kapsner on March 30, 2011:

Enjoyed the lens. I read it as part of an introduction to Squidoo. Being the kind of person who gets a great deal of pleasure out of making stuff I would like to suggest that you add a pair of possible answers to your poll: "Yes, I made one" and "No, but I would like to make one".

webfelixlab on March 14, 2011:

nice lense

anonymous on March 06, 2011:


Francis Luxford from United Kingdom on February 18, 2011:

Great Lens, very informative and interesting, enjoyed my visit Thanks.

dwnovacek on February 14, 2011:

Loved your informational lens and the beautiful photos that accompany it. Blessed by your Science neighborhood Squid Angel!

acopson on February 02, 2011:

An amazing lense, very detailed, i learnt something new from it

jackieb99 on January 02, 2011:

Hey, love the site. It's very informative.

C A Chancellor from US/TN on December 30, 2010:

Great lens -- blessed!

anonymous on December 20, 2010:

Wonderful,informative lens! Blessed by a Squidoo angel on 12/20/2010. Have a great day!

SandyPeaks on December 04, 2010:

Delightful lens - I love sundials! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

GeoffSteen on November 09, 2010:

Thank you for taking so much time and trouble to create this lens. You've turned a subject that I'd never really thought about into something really interesting. I'd definitely now like a vertical sundial for my garden - I can imagine a lazy summer's afternoon watching the shadows move...maybe next year!

SofiaMann on October 26, 2010:

Very beautiful lens. Congratulations.

ChickenHouseKit on October 24, 2010:

Simply brilliant lens, it really is amazing what you can learn by simply clicking a few buttons... A really informative read. Thank you...

ZablonMukuba on October 20, 2010:

awesome lens, you made sun dials to be fun

Stephen Carr from Corona, CA on October 15, 2010:

Been looking for one for my garden. Good lens, great info!

jgelien on October 15, 2010:

I honestly never knew there were so many different types of sundials. I like that they are functional as well as attractive. I learned a lot from your lens.

anonymous on October 12, 2010:

I've had a unique sundial like idea for a while. A color sun clock of sorts. Start with a large prism (military surplus from a submarine periscope) & position it outside in the sun so that it splits the light rays into a rainbow of colors which are projected onto the wall house or small room. Put a slit through the wall the so that only a narrow portion of the rainbow gets through into the room & is projected onto a white painted wall as a narrow line of colored light. As the sun moves, the rainbow moves & the light projected through the slit changes color so that the line of light on the wall changes color. red = morning, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo violet evening. A strip of color chips for comparison could be added for slightly more exact time telling. Probably not very accurate, but it could be beautiful. If you build it just let people know where you got the idea.

Jonathan Roberts

anonymous on October 12, 2010:

As a child I'd sneak into a very special garden (not my family's) and crawl into the tangle of undergrowth until I came across my favorite destination, an ancient sundial and a rusted fountain. At the time I didn't understand the sundial and fountain didn't work but the fish in the fountains pond were HUGE.

mrddeadroll on October 10, 2010:

Nice job on this lens!

anonymous on October 04, 2010:

Really interesting lens!

ShamanicShift on September 22, 2010:

Informative on a fascinating topic--great read.

anonymous on September 18, 2010:

HOW DO i SET UP MY SUNDIAL? Do I place the dial so that the sun throws a shadow towards the correct time numeral?

Carol Fisher from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on September 13, 2010:

I find sundials fascinating but I've never owned one. This is a really informative lens on the subject - blessed by an Angel.

anonymous on August 09, 2010:


I'm Thomas, I'm a South African and live in Spain.

Please could someone tell me how to build an Armillary Sphere, I weld and I'm looking for plans on how to build Sundials. Just for the joy of welding, sculpture, astrology, architecture, geometry.... the list goes on. Anyone got any info or links for those that like getting their hands dirty and creating beautiful things. Or links for how to build any astrological devices, or ancient instruments for measuring increments of time etc



lasertek lm on August 04, 2010:

Great lens! Never really thought about having a sundial but you surely got me interested.

anonymous on July 24, 2010:

Fantastic and interesting lens, great topic! Well done! - Kathy

anonymous on July 08, 2010:

You must be an amazing, kind, gentle and sharing person with a giant curiosity.I have a limited memory but worked on an Imax movie with a producer named Sally Dale. I think I recall a sundial was a critical part of the movie. It was a whole building on wheels so it could be adjusted for seasons. It might be an interesting addition to your lens.

Thanks for the lens

Lee Hansen from Vermont on July 07, 2010:

I would love to have a sundial in my garden. I may make one using the pattern and info from BBC.

Delia on June 23, 2010:

Hi, I came back to give this Great informative lens a ~"Squid Angel Blessing"~

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on June 23, 2010:

Thanks for the interesting information about sundials.

anonymous on June 11, 2010:

I thought it was a case of check the time turn the sundial till the shadow is in the right place and BINGO. Now it seems as if it is going to take quite a while to set it up.

AngHoo LM on June 10, 2010:

I like this lens... Informative and nice... Btw, nice meeting you Frances...

hayleylou lm on June 10, 2010:

Thanks for the info, going to have a go at the human sundial with the kids , thumbs up :)

jlshernandez on May 16, 2010:

I own a sundial in my yard and it keeps time, though I need to turn it a bit during daylight savings to be accurate. Great lens.

frances lm (author) on May 07, 2010:

@InsightInsider: Never seen those watches. Would like to. You wouldn't necessarily have to know due north to tell the time though. Some simple sundials (shepherd's dials are an example) use the altitude of the sun to tell the time - not very accurately though.

Thanks for an interesting comment.

InsightInsider on March 23, 2010:

Squidoo was right, that was a great lens!

Have you seen those contemporary sundial watches? It is literally a sundial on a strap with a dial which you click up into time telling position and down when you're not using it. I presume you have to be able to tell due north accurately to get a half decent reading but cool nonetheless, also not so successful in overcast weather or of course at night.

But I believe the model I saw opened up to reveal and very beautifully designed standard watch beneath. This was in a department store in Berlin a few weeks back, it was a very high end Swiss watch, well into the thousands. I had a brief look for it online but couldn't locate it for you to have a look at.

Great lens all the same, thanks for that!

vimlaksh on March 21, 2010:

This is the best Lens I have come across, so far, on Squidoo. You are an inspiration to me Frances.

Kindly visit my Buddhism Quiz lens too and please offer some advice on improving it. Thanks.

anonymous on December 11, 2009:

i only wanted to know what they were and i learned a ton!!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on November 09, 2009:

Back again to lensroll to my Pendleton Elementary School Memory Garden and to leave you with a Squid Angel Blessing.

anonymous on October 28, 2009:

I loved it! What a great job of bringing all the important data together. You saved me sooo

much time. Now all I have to do is choose! ( the hard part ) Thank you.

frances lm (author) on August 15, 2009:

[in reply to TRULYBORED] Why not? Let me know whay you want to know about sundials that isn't covered here and I will intoduce a section.

anonymous on July 16, 2009:

THis didn't help me at ALL!!! GRRRR!!!!!!!!!1

anonymous on June 29, 2009:

Really good read :) 5 Stars

Tiddledeewinks LM on June 05, 2009:

Lots of work went into this lens! 5 *'s

anonymous on May 19, 2009:

great lens. Who knew there was so much to a sundial

anonymous on May 19, 2009:

great lens. Who knew there was so much to a sundial

anonymous on April 23, 2009:

yup but im not so sure if a sundial is the best and easy project idea :S


anonymous on April 16, 2009:

the sundial at the coral castle in Miami has a line that traces the sun thru the seasons for the year. you can search for it or goto

SparklyDiva on April 13, 2009:

Wonderful! Now I have sudden interest in sundials!

ctavias0ffering1 on April 04, 2009:

This is an excellent lens. Wish I could give it more than 5* ... adding some Angel Blessings too.

I own a sunwatch which was originally made in Canada, I used to keep that sitting on the windowsill so that the kids could see how they work. Love the idea of the indoor sundial especially. I suppose if you are clever, you could probably mark out time around a room and use a small prism to throw up the rainbow colours.

Prisms are really interesting for children and it's amazing how much knowledge there is to impart from that starting point.

Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on March 18, 2009:

Excellent! A first class lens

K Linda on January 07, 2009:

Wonderful lens! I didn't know there was so much to know about sundials. 5*'s.

anonymous on January 04, 2009:

I came here from a link in The Joy of Squidoo. I don't know if I would ever have searched for information on sundials, but now that I've seen your lens, I'm re-experiencing a childhood fascination with them. I want one! Thanks for providing such a good example to the rest of us.

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