from The 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.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
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_.