Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A kind of portable sundial, consisting of a metal ring, broad in proportion to its diameter, and having slits in the direction of its circumference, which can be partially closed or covered by a sliding appliance on the outside of the ring. There are divisions on the outside denoting the months of the year, and figures on the inside denoting the hour of the day. By partly closing the slit, so as to let the rays of the sun pass through that part of it belonging to the current month (as in the direction ab in the cut), the hour of the day is approximately denoted by the point where the beam of light strikes the inside of the ring.
“The "sun-ring" or ring-dial, was probably the watch of our forefathers some thousand years previous to the invention of the modern chronometer, and its history is deserving of more attention than has hitherto been paid to it.”
“The ring-dial, as described by him, and by your correspondents, is likewise described in most of the encyclopædias.”
“The ring-dial was the hedge-schoolmaster's next best substitute for a watch.”
“Each of their shops exhibits a complete medley: a magazine, where are to be had both a needle and an anchor, a tin pot and a large copper boiler, a child's whistle and a piano-forte, a _ring-dial_ and a clock, "&c.J. M.B. _Ring Dials_.”
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