Ring sundial

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made in England

Postcard of Ring sundial.
© National Museums Scotland

Ring sundial

This bronze ring sundial was made in England, probably in the 18th century. It is unsigned and of a design which dates from medieval times.

The ring dial is designed for use at a particular latitude and gives the time in relation to the altitude of the sun. To allow for the sun's ranging altitude through the seasons (declination), as well as with the hour, the pin-hole gnomon is adjustable.

Sometimes this type of pocket ring dials are called 'poke' [pocket] dials after the lines in Shakespeare's As You Like It: '...[he] drew a dial from his poke,/and looking on it with lack-lustre eye,/Says, very wisely, "It is ten o'clock." '

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-684-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1933.86
Date: 18th century
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: 0.50" W x 2.00" D
What: Sundial, ring
Subject: 20. TIME MEASUREMENT, Sundials (Departmental Classification)
Where: England
Description: Bronze ring sundial with moveable peep hole, unsigned, England, 18th century
  • For sundials, see Turner, Anthony, Early Scientific Instruments 1400-1800. London: 1987, pp 173-82 
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