**** Ulrich Bretscher's Pocket Watch Page ****



Pocket Sundial

Manufacturer: Negelein at Nuremberg in Bavaria, ca. 1810


Watch length...............76 mm
Watch, breadth
..........45 mm
.....................17 mm
.........................27 g
Compass deviation
...22 °West


Vertical Dial: Time in Nuremberg at 50° north, only
Horizontal Dial: Time at any place in Middle Europe from 34° to 56° north

Notice the extreme compass deviation with 22° west. Today it's about 1° east in Central Europe.
With the aid of the deviation one can easily determine the age of a compass and hence a sundial.

Case: Made from Walnut, pasted with a copper print and partially hand-colored paper. Hinges are from brass wire. The Gnomon is missing. It consisted of a string that could be set to the appropriate latitude with a pin.
The compass allowed it to direct the dial exactly north-south. Its deviation is 22° west. From this deviation can be concluded that the compass was made about 1810.
A now worn table is printed on the cover that gives latitudes of most major European cities. They are listed in groups of countries.
This sundial shows the time to the quarter hour. It also could be used to set a mechanical watch or clock.

Remarks: In the16th through 18th century, Nuremberg was the technological center of Europe. So watch making (mechanical watches as well as sundials) was an important industry there. No wonder the first portable watch was built there, credited to Peter Henlein in 1515 and, also, the world's first rifled gun barrel was made there.
Exports were an important factor. As an example this is proved by this very sundial - its dial is printed in English!
The specimen introduced here is rather shoddily made, quite obviously mass-produced. The side with the hinges is not sanded. Traces of the saw are still visible there.

In 1810, when our sundial was made, mechanical watches were very costly. For a watch of medium quality and without fancy embellishments, you had to pay about half a years salary, since a watch maker could only produce about three of them per year. So there were not too many people carrying a watch. But pocket sundials were affordable.