Paul Manship was commissioned to make the sundial for the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Manship wrote, "The Perisphere and Trylon at the World's Fair suggests to me measurements of time and space, so my sundial… relates to the background of the central motif of the Fair." His white plaster sculpture was the biggest sundial in the world, standing 80 feet tall.
The Three Fates, "The Daughters of Necessity," sitting under the tree that holds up the sundial's pointer, are characters from Greek mythology.
The Goddess of Necessity, Themis, brought forth three lovely daughters, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, known as The Fates. All living things must eventually submit to these divine daughters of Zeus and Themis. Life is woven by Clotho, measured by Lachesis and, finally, in a very literal sense, the thread of life is cut by Atropos.