History of the Sundial
It is not known when the sundial was invented or who invented it. The Saxons used the sundial type long in use by the Vikings, who being a maritime people, founded the divisions of time on the ebb and flow of the tide. First the four tides, two high tides, and two low; then, further improving this, they subdivided these divisions again into halves and quarters, thus making the day and night equal to sixteen hours.
Sundials continued to be erected long after clocks came into use. Until watches began to be made in large numbers sundials ruled supreme. Clocks did not in any way diminish their popularity, and if the truth be known probably helped to cause a greater number to be erected. Not only could they be relied upon to keep accurate time, but they served to set the clock when it stopped!