Sundials in Early Modern Europe

Photographs of early modern printed-paper sundials

Georg Brentel the Younger, from <i>Pamphlet describing the construction and function of a conical sundial,</i> Lauingen: Jacob Winter, 1615. Pamphlet with engravings and woodcuts.
Side view of the facsimile made by the Harvard Art Museum
View from above of the facsimile made by the Harvard Art Museum
Georg Brentel the Younger, from <i>Pamphlet describing the construction and function of a cylindrical sundial,</i> Lauingen: Jacob Winter, 1615. Pamphlet with engravings and woodcuts.
Facsimile made by the Harvard Art Museum
A polyhedral sundial of gilt brass, c. 1521–1530, attributed to Nicolaus Kratzer, part of the exhibit <Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe,</i> now on view at the Sackler Museum

These Photographs show seventeenth-century printed-paper sundials—the detailed engravings include instructions for building the finished products, created in this case by curators at the Sackler Museum. As Jennifer Carling and Jonathan Shaw point out in “Spheres of Knowledge,” from the November-December 2011 issue, sundials would have allowed traveling merchants not only to tell time, but also to convert among the three different time-telling systems of the day as they traveled from one region to another. 

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