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Invention of Standard Time It seems hard to believe, but not until the 1880s did North America have recognized standard time zones. Instead, each individual city generally set its own time according to the position of the sun. This system didn't cause much trouble until the railroad age blossomed--then chaos ensued. Because the clocks in cities even a few miles apart routinely varied, running a railroad became a nightmare. (For example, in Canada, Montreal was 22 minutes ahead of Toronto because it is 500 kilometres further to the northeast.) In 1879, a Scottish-born Canadian railway man, Sandford Fleming (pictured here), actively proposed time zones to simplify North American railroad schedules. These were adopted in 1883. Almost immediately, the various cities and states followed the railroaders' lead. Soon the rest of world followed too. There are now 24 basic time zones in the world, each encompassing approximately 15 degrees longitude.
Tags: standard  time  geography  Sandford  Fleming 
Added: 8th March 2010
Views: 1488
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Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Jedwgrn on 2010-03-08 
Even today we find the time changes chaotic. Wonder what it was really like back then: Oh, I have five after. No, it is two hours later/earlier than that, you all are all wrong - it is my time.

Great post Lava. How did they deal with time before establishing the time zones? Or, was it as haphazard as we can imagine?
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2010-03-08 
From what I can understand, each community set its time of day by the position of the sun on the longest daylight day of the year. When the sun reached its apex on that day, it was 12 noon. therefore each community had a slightly different time that it neighboring communities. it didn't matter much until the age of communications made standard times necessary.
Posted by: Marty6697 on 2010-03-09 
Very interesting! Thanks Lava, as always you come up with some cool trivia! All of us creatures on this great planet Earth have internal clocks as well. Good stuff! I haven't used a alarm clock in many years. No matter how late or early I go to bed, I wake up, even if I had a few Ginger Ales Lol!
Posted by: eric1957 on 2010-03-12 
I always believed that the Mountain and Pacific Time zones should've been combined to be called the Western Time Zone and Alaska and Hawaii the Pacific Time Zone. But that's just me.
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