Help me find and obtain a possibly Elizabethan timepiece.
February 25, 2005 1:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the name, and, if possible, a place to purchase / obtain a replica of a timepiece that I believe is Elizabethan.

In a recent visit to the UK, in some museum related to Shakespeare, one of the exhibits included a typical commoners' timepiece. It looked a lot like the following:

It was composed of an inner and outer ring. The inner ring could be rotated within the outer ring so that a little notch matched up with the current month, effectively repositioning the hole (upper left in picture). The ring was then held (I believe) with the hole pointing straight up, and the light passing through the hole shone on the far side of the ring, which had times marked of. Basically, it was a portable sundial, but small, shaped like a ring, not a flat plate, and capable of adjusting for the differences between winter and summer months.

Does anyone know what this timepiece is called?

And, far less likely, does anyone know of somewhere I could get one?
posted by Bugbread to Technology (5 answers total)
It's a ring dial, see here . Don't know where to get one, but that might get you started.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 1:54 PM on February 25, 2005

Here's a list of sun dial makers, including one in Canada that makes finger ring dials. And now I need to get back to work.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 1:58 PM on February 25, 2005

I tried googling "ring dials", and, sure enough, that's exactly what it is. And it seems a surprising number of places have them for sale. Thank you!
posted by Bugbread at 2:00 PM on February 25, 2005

Anyone in or going to Rome should check out the coolest store in Trastevere called Polvere di Tempo (Via del Moro 59) - they have all sorts of old maps and scientific gizmos and I picked up a ring (the kind you wear on your hand) like this for about 7 euros. I can't seem to make it work, but it looks cool as hell.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:21 PM on February 25, 2005

Lee Valley Tools has one
posted by substrate at 7:36 PM on February 25, 2005

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