Barrel-Type Portable Horizontal Sundial

Barrel-Type Portable Horizontal Sundial

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This barrel-type sundial consists of a brass ring with a gnomon that folds up (one edge is jagged). The dial is calibrated by hour from 1 to 8 and from 4 to 12. The ring sits in a wooden base. The base contains a broken, crudely cut glass compass cover and a paper compass rose of eight points with a fleur de lis at North. The paper pivots on a point and acts as the compass--there is no need for a needle. There is a brass plate screwed to the outside bottom of the base. When the sundial ring is removed, the wooden base screws into a wooden barrel. The barrel has a brass decorative ring screwed around its top. The barrel also has a wooden lid which is attached to it with a brass chain. This barrel may have held tobacco.
George Watson gave this sundial to Silvio Bedini to give to NMAH c. 1968-1969. There is a label from Kaywoodie Pipes addressed to Bedini in the accession file, but it is not clear whether Watson was associated with this company, which was owned and operated by S. M. Frank & Company of Peekskill, New York. It is also not known whether the wood in this sundial is briar wood, the material used to make Kaywoodie Pipes.
Currently not on view
Object Name
sundial, horizontal portable
overall: 8.2 cm x 5 cm x 4.5 cm; 3 7/32 in x 1 31/32 in x 1 25/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of George Watson
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Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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