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Time is ripe for sundials.

Tony Moss, 67, has been passionate about metalwork since he was 10 years old. The former Newcastle Polytechnic teacher-trainer took early retirement and at the age of 52 decided to start Lindisfarne Sundials.

Since then he has created a sundial for Sir Patrick Moore, a replica of a 1683 dial for an earl in East Anglia, two for North Tyneside Council and for a Hong Kong magnate at his mansion in Monterey USA, and seven for the President of the North American Sundial Society.

In addition, one of his dials is on permanent display in the Science Museum in London.

He is currently designing a dial to mark the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the first British colony in America.

Widower Tony, who has three sons, Dave, 40, Ian, 37, and Paul, 35, says: "I've been working in fine metalwork and other materials since I was a boy. I began by making sundials for a friend who could design, but not make them.

"Then after I retired I made a dial for a summerhouse in my garden and my middle son, Ian, guessed other people would want dials like that. He was right.

"People often seem surprised when they are told a sundial can tell the time accurately ( but of course there would be something seriously wrong with the solar system if it didn't. For a variety of astronomical reasons sundials and clocks are usually `out-of-step.' This may appear to be inaccuracy, but the solar time shown by the dial is easily converted to accurate clock time.

"The hardest thing about the business is the very long lead time between initial order and final installation and payment. Up to three years for the largest and most complex dial so far. My ambitions are to go on making exciting sundials for as long as I am able to do so.

"Having received the Sawyer Dialling Prize from the North American Sundial Society at their Chicago Conference in August, I can perhaps regard myself as being at the top of my profession. It has only once been awarded outside the USA, and never before in the UK."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2005
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