Portable Diptych Sundial by Leonhart Miller


Leaf 1a of this rectangular ivory diptych sundial has a wind rose (sun-face motif) with sixteen points labeled in German. The wind vane is missing from a slot with a metal cover on one edge of the leaf. A foliate decoration extends around the rose and a metal protrusion is at each corner. A small circle near the hinge shows the north point in compass in leaf below. The pin for a hook which holds the diptych open also is missing. Leaf 1b contains a pin gnomon and dial labeled "QUANTITAS DIEI" (length of day). It is calibrated along a diagonal from left to right from 8 to 16 by ones. Zodiacal symbols are around the edges of the top. Below the zodiac is a vertical dial labeled from VI to XII to VI in Gothic-style Roman numerals. A sun face is at the center, small decorative stamps are along the top, and two engravings of a comet or meteor are near the hinge. A string gnomon connects leaves 1b and 2a. Leaf 2a contains a horizontal dial for an approximate latitude of 48-49 degrees. The dial is calibrated from 4 to 12 to 8 by units with asterisks at the half-hour points. An inset compass with glass and needle is labeled with abbreviations of the four Latin directions. Near "OCCI" is a fleur de lis. The compass is offset for variation at approximately five degrees east and twenty degrees west. Below the compass and hour dial is a pin gnomon dial for Babylonian hours (calibrated 1 to 14 in red) and Italian hours (calibrated 10 to 23 in black). A mark below this reads: LEONHART MILLER 1641. The dial has sun and moon decorations and decorative stamps.

Leaf 2b contains a lunar volvelle with an engraved brass disc with index, calibrated from 1 to 12 twice and decorated with stars. Two scales extend around the volvelle, calibrated from 1 to 12 by twice and from 1 to 29 once. Foliate decorations surround scales. There are again small metal feet at each corner. All marks in black and red. A stamp near the hinge reads: L M. A crown is between these two letters.


P. Gouk, The Ivory Sundials of Nuremberg 1500-1700.

Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Catalogue 6: Sundials, Part 1, Section 4.2.

Date Made: 1641

Maker: Leonhart MillerMiller, Leonhart

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: MathematicsTimekeeping


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of New York University

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MA.326979Catalog Number: 326979Accession Number: 1990.0646

Object Name: sundial, horizonntal portablesundialsundial

Measurements: overall, closed: 1.4 cm x 5.3 cm x 8.2 cm; 9/16 in x 2 3/32 in x 3 7/32 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a8-e145-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_997124

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