A Sundial manufactured by Sheldon Moore of Kensington, Connecticut. Circa 1840.

Sheldon Moore was the son of Roswell and Lovina (Phillips) Moore. He was born in Southington, Connecticut, October 17, 1798. He was locally educated and graduated from Yale in 1818. For a number of years, he taught in Virginia and in Connecticut. He studied law, but soon relinquished his practice and devoted his full time to business interests. He was forced to retire early due to ill health, and died in Kensington, March 20, 1866.

Sheldon married Susan Langdon Dickinson on November 1, 1831. They had three sons and a daughter. Sheldon’s brother Roswell Moore carried on an extensive business in the manufacture of cement.

Sheldon had numerous interests in life. The manufacture of sundials was started before August of 1840. Willcox and Prior of New Haven, later N. Willcox, did the casting. In July 1841 they billed Moore for 36 dials. Breck & Company of Boston retailed a number of them at a reported 20% commission. In six months they sold 18 dials, which apparently encouraged Sheldon Moore to expand his facilities.

This cast iron instrument or dial plate measures approximately 9.75 inches in diameter and Gnomon is 4.75 inches tall. It is calibrated to be accurate for the latitude of 41° 36’ and will be sufficiently so for 150 or 200 miles north of this latitude, and will be entirely correct for any latitude if the dial is inclined in setting, so that the edge of the gnomon that casts the shadow will be parallel with the pole of the earth. The latitude 41° 36’ is roughly located between Hartford and Waterbury, Connecticut. The range of 150 miles include points as far North as Montpelier, Vermont and as far south Washington, DC.

This instrument, designed for measuring time, has been known and in use from the earliest ages. It is a common and valued ornament in gardens, pleasure grounds and yards. Our climate is well adapted to the use of the sun dial, the great number of our clear and beautiful days render it useful.


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