I am pleased to announce the publication of *Time of Our Lives: Sundials of
the Adler Planetarium*, by Sara J. Schechner. Please find below a
description of the book. Orders can be placed through the Adler
Planetarium's online store (link

Pedro M. P. Raposo, DPhil
Curator and Director of Collections
The Adler Planetarium

*Time of Our Lives: Sundials of the Adler Planetarium      *

by Sara J. Schechner, PhD, David P. Wheatland Curator of the Collection of
Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University

Published by the Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium of Chicago has the best and most comprehensive
collection of sundials and time-finding instruments in North America.  Now
many of these objects can be yours to explore.  This volume encompasses a
dazzling array of sundials, 268 in all, that date from the 15th to 20th

What makes this catalogue special is that it is written to engage
non-specialists approaching sundials for the first time.  Although the
organizational logic is astronomical and mathematical, the primary
Interpretive essays set the sundials into cultural and social context.

The catalogue divides sundials into classes according to the element of the
Sun’s apparent motion that they track (e.g. hour-angle, altitude, azimuth,
or a combination) and the orientation of the surfaces on which the hour
lines are mathematically drawn. Within each chapter, the instruments are
organized chronologically and by workshop, thereby giving readers insight
into that type’s development over time and differences among
makers.  Technical object descriptions are supplemented by tables of
divisions, gazetteers, saints’ days, weather forecasts, and in the case of
polyhedral dials, the dial types, orientations, and hour systems drawn on
every face.  The tables offer a snapshot of the precision to which the
maker aimed and the sundial’s complexity.  Color photographs of each
sundial show its overall appearance and details.

Chapter introductions go beyond mathematical descriptions of how each type
works.  Drawing upon research findings presented here for the first time,
the essays offer insights into early production techniques, fads and
fashions, social hierarchy among users, the impact of church and civil
authorities, and the history of the sundial classes.

Throughout the ages, people’s sense of time has been influenced by their
culture, politics, religion, labor, society, and geography.  This catalogue
offers concrete evidence, for every sundial in it embodies the time-related
needs and values of its maker and users.

The catalogue includes a taxonomy of compass needles, glossary,
bibliography, and index.  It is hardcover, 488 pages, 9.75” x 11”.

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