that keeps accurate time
created to mark
– a PLACE
– a MOMENT
– a MEMORY
WHY A SUNDIAL?
Places of interest and beauty long have been honored with sundials. Their tradition has been a companionable one. A walk, an entryway, or a garden wall may need no ornament, but perhaps a focus. A sundial may provide a place and a time to reflect. Perhaps there is an intellectual charm to the device itself.
AESTHETIC AND ELEGANT
If the sundial is also an accurate time-keeper, its unity of function and attractive shape both enhance the picture and the remembrance of its surroundings.
The familiar disc and triangular gnomon of the garden sundial, and the myriad symbolic rings of the armillary tell unusually the time of the sun. “Sun” time, however, may be noticeably earlier or later than the Standard time of clocks and watches depending upon the observer’s location and the season.
THE SUN AS A TIMEKEEPER?
Variation in the sun’s apparent motion throughout the year, due to the earth’s elliptical orbit and axis tilt, accounts for up to 16 minutes difference. This is the Equation-of-Time, shown graphically as the analemma on globes.
“Sun” time in some localities may be 60 minutes later than at others in the same time zone.
Sunrise, sunset, and the path of the sun across the sky change every day. The sun is about 8 days longer above the equator (spring and summer) than below (fall and winter).
The vagaries of the sun are well known. We know where to look for it at any moment. The Sunquest sundial does this unerringly well. It allows for these fascinating differences and conveniently shows the exact Standard “clock” time by direct reading. No charts or calculations are needed.
NOT BY A SHADOW
When you tell time with a Sunquest sundial, you rotate the gnomon to seek the position which lets a band of sunlight pass through the ribbon-like slot and fall upon the time graduations. This indication of “sun” time progresses ceaselessly along as the earth moves relative to the sun.
As you turn further, to narrow the band of light to a fine line for an accurate reading, you see the shift in the line along the graduations from “sun” to Standard “clock” time. The bright line is well defined between two shadows and can be read even when the sky is covered by a light overcast.
UTILITY AND GRACE
The Sunquest sundial is adjustable to any latitude and longitude in the northern hemisphere; a necessity for any sundial to be accurate.
It tells you Standard or Daylight time.
Crescents, open at the top, are derived from the rings of latitude, longitude, and the celestial equator as in the armillary. The structural form of crescents, instead of rings, flows not from the appeal of the early and late moon, but to expose the time graduations to the sun at all times without obstruction.
The handsome appearance attracts you to the Sunquest sundial and impels you to touch it. You turn the gnomon slightly. You spark the mystery of earth and sky. You pinpoint the moment.
The Sunquest design emerged from a blend of astronomy with harmony of line and first appeared in the Scientific American magazine (Oct. 1959).
Since then, the quiet dignity of handcrafted Sunquest sundials complements the architecture of office, medical and apartment buildings, and in the peacefulness of gardens.
AN IVY COVERED POT
At a school, museum, or wildlife sanctuary, the presence of history and beauty is lengthened by a pause at the sundial. A Sunquest sundial is an ideal gift choice for donors to such places.
Those who observe the ordered world of Nature and the concept of preserving it also take delight in the dimensions of the changing seasons.
The person who receives a Sunquest sundial has an object to see – to use – and to enjoy the sunny moments of every day.
“SUN” CONVERTED TO “CLOCK” TIME
The curved edges of the gnomon slot and wings offset the band of sunlight through the gnomon and make it fall earlier or later upon the time graduations in accordance with the Equation-of-Time. One wing corrects for the declining-sun half of the year; the other for the ascending-sun half.
The portion of the gnomon’s curves which affects the time reading on any particular day depends upon the angular elevation of the sun. The high sun of summer shines through the upper end. The sun of winter selects an appropriate portion of the lower end.
The time crescent is rotated and set initially so that, at the longitude of the sundial, the band of light indicates the time of the Standard Time zone. There is only one time scale to read, with positions for either Standard or Daylight.
From Dec. 1 to Jan 15 and from June 1 to July 15, the path of the sun is either very low or very high, and the change from day to day is small. The gnomon is moved along its axis during these periods and set to the dates marked on the under-side. The magnified ends of the analemmic curves then respond to the early or late sun automatically as throughout the remainder of the year.
The right time is easy with the large 13″ diameter dial and depends upon whether the observer makes a casual or careful reading; usually to 1 or 2 minutes between the 5-minute graduations.
The Sunquest sundial is 18″ high with 15″ diameter crescents and a 13″ diameter time dial divided into hour, quarter hour, and 5-minute intervals. It is made of architectural aluminum with a warm sanded finish. Grooves, figures, and gradations are red enamel-filled.
All fasteners are aluminum including the attachment bolts for wood or masonry. Instructions for orientation accompany each Sunquest sundial.
RICHARD L. SCHMOYER
335 STONY BATTERY ROAD, LANDISVILLE, PA.