Today we are enjoying the perks of wearable watches, made possible by compact mechanics and small batteries. In an earlier blog post, we wrote about the history of wearable watches. To elaborate on this theme, we will, in an upcoming series, write about different types of time keepers, beginning with the one that started it all.
Long before the sleek wearable watches of today, people had to make due with other, bulkier means to keep time. Perhaps the first cyclic event that we became aware of is the rising and setting of the sun, which offers a nice opportunity for keeping time.
A sundial is composed of two parts, a dial and a gnomon. The gnomon casts its shadow on the dial and presto, the time can be read. The shadow aligns with inscribed hour lines to indicate the time. Many different versions of sundials exist but all share the same basic principles, one of the more common shapes are shown in the picture below.
Perhaps you have seen a sundial or two in the gardens around your town? They used to be a quite common decoration, however lacking in time keeping accuracy. To be truly accurate, the sundial must be manufactured for the specific latitude in which it is to be used. This is due to the sun's altitude changing if we move up or down along the meridians of Earth.
If you feel that a sundial is a bit too rudimentary, a pocket watch might be a better fit for you. Shop our collection of pocket watches here.
Have a sunny day!