Sundials in Dictionary

Humans have been measuring time for millennia and in this long history have developed many different measuring instruments that should help. Even in ancient times, people used different methods to divide their time. Particularly early on, people orientated themselves to sunrise and sunset to mark time segments. Later in ancient Egypt, the so-called sundial was developed according to this principle, which was further developed over time.

How does a sundial work?

The sundial is often called a shadow clock, as it shows the time of day by means of a shadow formed by a stick. During the day, the shadow moves with the sun on the dial of the sundial , thus indicating the time. The course of the sun can indicate the time of day on the sundial with the help of the hour angle and the date in the calendar with the help of the declination angle . In Central Europe, 16 hours of the day are scaled on a sundial, since sunshine can be expected in this period during European midsummer. Visit paulwallclocks to buy quality big wall clocks.

The time of day display on sundials

Depending on the type of sundial and the principle used, the time of day is indicated in different ways. Most sundials have in common that they do not indicate the legal or official time, i.e. not the one that is officially prescribed, but that the so-called true local time is displayed. The solar time depends on the reading location, which, in contrast to the official time , results in irregularities . These can be remedied by calculations, the equation of time. In this case the mean solar time is used. A distinction is also made between the following formats:

  • Display in special hours, such as Babylonian or Nuremberg hours
  • Display in equinox hours
  • Display in temporal hours
  • Display of the mean local time

Nodus principle and pole rod principle

A distinction is made between two types of sundials: Depending on whether the time- indicating shadow is created by a point or a rod, a distinction is made between the so-called Nodus principle for the point or the pole rod principle for the rod.

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Nodus principle The display of the date is only possible when using the Nodus principle, which was particularly used in ancient times. A gnonom, a so-called shadow indicator, is used as a nodus. Only in the modern sundials is the Nodus principle used again in order to be able to deal with the equation of time.
Pole rod principle In the course of the Middle Ages, the pole rod principle became more popular, with which the line of the shadow can be read much more easily.

Sundials in the present

In the age of cell phones and wristwatches , the antique sundial is no longer the best option when it comes to reading the time display. And yet rejoicing according to various test report summaries many people still use this nostalgic timepiece today. Regardless of whether the sundial has an antique or modern design, most people see in it an object with a history that not only makes it easier to experience time, but can also be used as an attractive decorative element . In addition, antique sundials, such as the famous multiple sundial from Santuar de Lluc or the more modern floor sundial near Recklinghausen are popular sights that attract many tourists.

Tip! In public spaces, sundials can be found on the walls of buildings, as well as artistic sundials in parks and gardens. Walk-in sundials are particularly popular and are particularly popular with younger audiences.

But the sundial is also increasingly appearing in private settings, especially as jewelry, for example as a sundial for the garden. Models for house walls and balconies are also available for purchase. According to the test, the experience here is very goodmade of stainless steel or other metal, while standing sundials are often made of natural stone. Something very special are sundials that can also be worn as jewelry, such as the Nomos sundial. These multifunctional pieces of jewelry can be used as rings or pendants.

Buy a sundial – the best brands

Sundials are seldom in the watch shop, but more in garden or outdoor supplies, as well as in special shops. All the leading brands can be found on the Internet again and again. On the online presence of the supplier, you can not only order sundials by mail order and conveniently compare offers and prices, but you can also purchase the right accessories such as rings and chains to attach to the house wall or balcony.

The best providers are among others

  • Esschert design
  • Thorness
  • DanDiBo ambience
  • Pötschke nursery
  • Garden dream
  • Nomos
  • pompidu living

In a direct comparison, providers such as Gartentraum or pompidu living with models that can have prices in the four-digit range are among the more expensive manufacturers, while Härtnerei Pötschke, for example, offers very affordable sundials for sale. The best way to buy coveted branded items cheaply is at the end of the gardening season. Then sundials are also often reduced and thus offered relatively cheaply compared to otherwise.

The best sundials on offer

Sundials are available in a wide variety of designs as floor or wall models for private use. Regardless of whether you want to deal intensively with the history of the sundial and this special timepiece or are simply looking for a special decorative element for your garden – you can easily find the right model for you in stores. Sundials are available in an antique finish as well as in a very modern design and in a wide variety of sizes.

Tip! From the small, ring-shaped sundial to the medium-sized wall sundial to the impressive floor-standing object, every wish can be fulfilled. Some stonemasons even design your sundial according to your wishes and develop the dial and shadow stick in consultation with you. Popular materials in addition to stainless steel and other metals such as bronze are sandstone and wood.

Advantages and disadvantages of a sundial

  • Sundials are a real highlight in the garden and are wonderful to look at. Especially models with an antique design are a real eye-catcher.
  • By the way, there are also models for house walls that are just as beautiful as decoration.
  • Sundials are often said to be imprecise. But now there are also high-quality models that reproduce the current time very precisely.
  • Meanwhile there are also sundials for on the go.
  • During the day, a sundial is a great way to tell the time. But as soon as it gets dark, it is impossible to read the time.
  • Switching between summer and winter time is normally not possible, so you have to calculate yourself what time it really is.

Build and align the sundial – a great project

However, the best sundials do not necessarily have to be purchased. You can also build and align your sundial yourself. With a little know-how , a freely accessible area with appropriate sunlight and the right equipment, you can make and align a simple sundial yourself relatively easily. Depending on your wishes, this can be made from simple cardboard or artfully made from stronger materials. Tinkering with a sundial and also aligning and then reading the time is also a great project that can be carried out with children and young people. Handicrafts can also generate a lot of enthusiasm in the care of seniors and help to present the concept of time in an interesting way.