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Mold, sundial

Chandlee, Goldsmith
Place Made:
Winchester Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
LOA 5 3/16; WOA 5 3/16; DOA 3 1/8
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Two extant parts of a three part mold for making cast pewter or lead sundials; remaining two parts comprise the mold for the face of the sundial and the gnomon; the vacant area between the two parts of the mold on which the face is engraved is for the formation of the gnomon; each corner of the mold (when two pieces are fitted together) has an iron pin within a decorative surround; the sundial face is engraved in reverse with Roman numerals and a compass rose at the base of the gnomon. The graduated dial marks fifteen minute intervals from 5 A.M. to 7 P.M. The maker and place of manufacture are also engraved on the mold.

STYLE: The MESDA research staff has recorded several sundials, tall-case clocks, and transits made by Chandlee including a sundial of the same style (2397.2) that was previously on loan to MESDA and one currently in the MESDA collection (4144).

MAKER: Goldsmith Chandlee (1751-1821) was born in Nottingham, Maryland, a border town which at the time of his birth was in Pennsylvania but was resurveyed and assigned to Maryland in 1768. The Chandlee family were prominent Quaker clock and scientific instrument makers including Goldsmith’s father, Benjamin Chandlee Jr. (1723-1791) and brothers Ellis (1755-1816) and Isaac (1760-1813). Goldsmith Chandlee’s son, Benjamin Chandlee III (1780-1822) also became a clock and scientific instrument maker. Goldsmith Chandlee was recorded as a silversmith in Winchester by 1779 when he took two apprentices. In 1801 and 1808 he took two more apprentices to learn watch and clockmaking. Chandlee apparently did not advertise except on his watchpapers and actual work, which indicates that he was a successful artisan. His work was exported as far as Baltimore, for in 1807 Abraham Patton and Samuel Jones announced in that city that they had just recieved “Surveyors’ compasses AND CHAINS, Complete, made by Goldsmith Chandlee, Winchester Virginia, warranted equal in quality to any ever offered for sale in Baltimore, at the Manufacturer’s prices.”

According to John Bivins, this mold had a third section, a brass casting with an open square cavity which fit firmly with the existing sections. The sides of the remaining pieces are beveled to ensure a close fit. The sprue or spout into which the molten metal was poured for the casting would have been on the back of the third part. Bivins speculates that the sprue was probably several inches long in order to provide the weight necessary to fill the entire cavity of the mold. The iron pins on the parts of the mold which form the dial plate served both to separate the parts of the mold to achieve the desired thickness of the final product and to provide holes for mounting screws to install the finished sundial.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund