It is always intriguing to see how many different measurements can be made with a sundial, and in how many different ways. The Dihelion sundial measures in two ways, and you wait for a whole year before the measurements repeat themselves, but it is always fascinating. The photo catches a moment of winter sunshine when Dihelion throws a shadow at a shallow angle across a winter solstice marker. Continue reading
Designing a sundial begins with an idea. There are technical matters and aesthetic aspects to think of, but then it is all about the detail. Our latest design is not quite complete yet. We want it to be a very beautiful sundial and made in pottery and brass!
One important detail of the design is the lettering we plan to use and the exact technique for engraving on the brass dial. Our picture shows a test piece with different font and point sizes. Continue reading
The owner of an old stone sundial on an estate in Fife wanted to know where it belonged. The stone was lying on the ground behind farm buildings and no one could say where it had come from. Was it the correct latitude for the estate, could we study it for them and find out more?
The date 1746 carved on the stone certainly confirmed this sundial was old. Continue reading
This marvellous small sundial sculpture sits on a wall of one of the classrooms for the youngest children at George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh. We looked at it closely during our tour of sundials in the school this morning. The sculptor and probably the children as well have introduced a number of lovely features into this piece. There is the beautifully modelled hawk and globe, which is an ancient Egyptian symbol of the sun god, there is the mouse and some lines of poetry from Robert Burns, and there is the T-square remembering the late architect Bob Clunas who designed the building. Continue reading
One or two years ago we had a general enquiry about making a sundial with a calendar marked on it. Some sundials are marked with a calendar in a graphical form like an elongated figure-of-eight. This is called the analemma, and it might have been the answer to the enquiry. In fact our own Solar Time sundial is a design that displays the analemma. Continue reading
It is always interesting to see how people will react to a sundials talk. I usually say they are in the majority if they know nothing at all about this fascinating yet unfamiliar subject. In the 21st century sundials have largely been forgotten, but I try to explain how sundials were once an essential part of the science of timekeeping. Their designs spanned an extraordinary range from purely functional to wildly exuberant sculpture monuments. Today those old traditions of imaginative design are still alive, providing new generations with pleasure and enjoyment from timeless and beautiful sundials.
You can see the slides for my talk here, PROBUS EDINBURGH TALK ON SUNDIALS – Copyright Macmillan Hunter 2017.
A few months ago we showed our range of garden sundials to a lady from Edinburgh. She wanted a 60th birthday present for her husband. Rather than choosing one of the sundials on display, our poster sketch of a new sundial instantly caught her eye. Its gnomon was shaped like a bird and this is the one she chose. She wished to set the sundial on a new stone pedestal. Continue reading
Sundials are as old as civilisation, and the ancient designs often stimulate new ideas. We work on sundial designs all the time. To design and make a new one is exciting. There is a lot to consider, which we like to work out step by step.
The principles of the sundial were already well understood and written down by the seventeenth century. Today, computer tools can calculate sundial geometry and get it exactly right. Continue reading
It is hard to compare with the beauty of natural stone for a focal feature in the garden. The customer who bought our Orbdial sundial for a 60th birthday present also decided on our pillar pedestal made in Scottish sandstone to complete their new installation. They wanted something light in colour Continue reading