Furniture Glossary

What is the meaning of the furniture term Sundial?

A sundial is a device that is used to measure time by utilizing the position and movement of the Sun. It consists of a flat plate or dial that is usually marked with numbers or other indicators representing the hours of the day.

The most basic form of a sundial is a flat plate, known as a dial plate, that is fixed on a horizontal surface and oriented towards the Sun. A gnomon, which is a thin vertical rod or triangular shape, casts a shadow on the dial plate. As the Sun moves across the sky, the shadow of the gnomon moves, indicating the time.

Sundials work based on the principle of the Suns apparent motion, where it appears to move across the sky from east to west due to the rotation of the Earth. The position and length of the gnomons shadow change throughout the day, and these changes correspond to different times of the day. By marking the dial plate with hours or other time divisions, the sundial accurately indicates the time.

However, sundials are not precise like mechanical clocks or digital devices, as they are affected by factors such as the latitude of the location, the tilt of the dial plate, and the presence of daylight saving time. They are also limited to use during daylight hours when the Sun is visible.

Sundials have been used for thousands of years and can still be found in various forms around the world. They are not only functional time-measuring devices but also considered as aesthetic and architectural elements in gardens, parks, and public spaces.
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