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made in Germany

Postcard of Sundial.
© National Museums Scotland


This portable wooden sundial was made in the 18th century, probably by David Beringer, a scientific instrument maker based in Nuremburg in Germany. Dials of this shape with many faces were usually made of stone and found in gardens.

The cubical dial is faced with engraved paper scales. It is supported on a hinged pillar for latitude adjustment fixed on the base. Set into the base is a compass and on each of the five upper sides is a sundial. The dial is inscribed 'D.BERINGER'.

When correctly orientated, using the compass, all five dials will show the same time. This form of dial, made from cheap materials but nevertheless attractive, found a large market on the Continent at the end of the 18th century.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-029-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1924.157
Date: 18th century
Material: Wooden cube, base and upright. Inscription: D. Beringer
Dimensions: 3.75" x 3.06" (base); 2.63" (side of cube)
Subject: 20. TIME MEASUREMENT, Sundials (Departmental Classification)
Who: D. Beringer (Possible sundial maker)
Where: Germany
Description: Sundial in form of a wooden cube supported on a hinged upright fixed in a wooden base with sunk compass, a sundial on each of the five upper sides, marked "D. Beringer", Germany, 18th century
  • For continental sundials, see Turner, Anthony, Early Scientific Instruments 1400-1800. London: 1987, pp 222-3 
  • Zinner, E., Deutsche and Niederlandische astronomische Instrumente des 11-18 Jahrhunderts. Munich: 1967, p 247 
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