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Time zones in USA

Time zones in USA

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Time zones are demarcations of solar hours (15 degrees) on the planet (a few are offset by 30 or 45 minutes) used by many nations. Solar noon moves closer on average (depending on the month and day) to 12:01pm the nearer to one is to the beginning of the zone. Has anyone in modern United States history (post-GMT and world wide time zones) seriously proposed an alternative system of time zone management than the hour (for instance moving to the half hour)?

Interestingly, when the time zones were established at the International Meridian Conference in 1884, the original idea was to have a single coordinated solar day. This meant that eventually, the hope was to have a single coordinated time throughout the world. The idea of dividing the world into time zones was merely supposed to be a step to getting to precisely that point.

Unfortunately, the resolution adopted had within it the seeds of its failure to take that final step. The single coordinated meridian was to be selected without interference in the local observation of solar time and "without regard to politics but only to scientific progress."

As you might expect, the "art of the possible" never was able to go that far.

None that were taken seriously. Why? Because modern life isn't so linked to the Sun that you can't be an hour off, and because more time zones mean more people having to live and work across those borders every day. It is so disorienting that some places have changed their time zone to be the same as whomever they do the most business with. This (partly) explains the mess that is Indiana. Chicago is so important that the six nearby counties in Indiana switched to its time zone. The nation of Kiribati was, until recently, split by the International Date Line, now it swings waaaay out east to UTC+14. Samoa switched sides of the IDL to have five shared work days with Australia and New Zealand, their biggest trading partners.

Time zones have only a vague relation with the position of the Sun anyway. You can see things like China being like "EVERY TIME IS BEIJING TIME!", and Alaska is like "JUNEAU TIME FOR EVERYONE, nobody lives up there anyway", and I don't even know what's going on in Russia.

Here's a great map of how far off a given time zone is.

According to the IANA nee Olson Time Zone Database, the only non-hour time zone in the US after the Standard Time Act of 1918 was Hawaii who used -10:30 from 1896 to 1947.

# From Arthur David Olson (2010-12-09): # "Hawaiian Time" by Robert C. Schmitt and Doak C. Cox appears on pages 207-225 # of volume 26 of The Hawaiian Journal of History (1992). As of 2010-12-09, # the article is available at # http://evols.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/10524/239/2/JL26215.pdf # and indicates that standard time was adopted effective noon, January # 13, 1896 (page 218), that in "1933, the Legislature decreed daylight # saving for the period between the last Sunday of each April and the # last Sunday of each September, but less than a month later repealed the # act," (page 220), that year-round daylight saving time was in effect # from 1942-02-09 to 1945-09-30 (page 221, with no time of day given for # when clocks changed) and that clocks were changed by 30 minutes # effective the second Sunday of June, 1947 (page 219, with no time of # day given for when clocks changed). A footnote for the 1933 changes # cites Session Laws of Hawaii 1933, "Act. 90 (approved 26 Apr. 1933) # and Act 163 (approved 21 May 1933)."

Meanwhile in Canada, St Johns and Goose Bay were -3:30:52 until 1935 when it became 3:30. Goose Bay changed to -4:00 1966, but St Johns stayed at -3:30.

Santo Domingo was -4:40 until 1933 when it switched to -5:00, then -4:00 in 1974, then back to -5:00 in 2000 and back to -4:00 a few months later because they were going to do whatever Puerto Rico did, and then Puerto Rico didn't.

# From Steffen Thorsen (2000-10-30): # Enrique Morales reported to me that the Dominican Republic has changed the # time zone to Eastern Standard Time as of Sunday 29 at 2 am… # http://www.listin.com.do/antes/261000/republica/princi.html # From Paul Eggert (2000-12-04): # That URL (2000-10-26, in Spanish) says they planned to use US-style DST. # From Rives McDow (2000-12-01): # Dominican Republic changed its mind and presidential decree on Tuesday, # November 28, 2000, with a new decree. On Sunday, December 3 at 1:00 AM the # Dominican Republic will be reverting to 8 hours from the International Date # Line, and will not be using DST in the foreseeable future. The reason they # decided to use DST was to be in synch with Puerto Rico, who was also going # to implement DST. When Puerto Rico didn't implement DST, the president # decided to revert.

Nowhere in the USA does that, however there is one place in North America (sorta) that does: Newfoundland.

They happened to be about 3 and a half hours from Greenwich when the time zones were first set up, and being persnickety people, opted to keep their own time rather than join the Atlantic or central Greenland time zones.

Assuming that Swatch sells their plastic watches also in the U.S., there is their notion of Swatch Internet Time (beat time): The notion has not become popular in Europe or even Switzerland (where the company originates) so far, but insofar as this is a serious, globally acting company, their (marketing-driven) attempt can (perhaps) be counted as a (somewhat) serious alternative system. The reference meridian is fixed at at Jakob-Staempfli Street, Biel, Switzerland.

I'm posting this @ 288 beats, BTW :)

List of U.S. states and territories by time zone

This is a list of U.S. states (and the one federal district, Washington, D.C.) and territories showing their time zones.

Most of the United States uses Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the summer. In the list, it will say if the state does not use DST.

Note: the time zones listed on this page are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) as well as the names of the time zones as they are called within the United States. For an explanation on what UTC+# and UTC-# mean, please see the UTC page.

The Decision to Standardize Time

The expansion of the railroads in the years following the Civil War only made the confusion over all the local time zones seem worse. Finally, in the spring of 1883, the leaders of the nation's railroads sent representatives to a meeting of what was called the General Railroad Time Convention.

On April 11, 1883, in St. Louis, Missouri, railroad officials agreed to create five time zones in North America: Provincial, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific.

The concept of standard time zones had actually been suggested by several professors going back to the early 1870s. At first, it was suggested that there be two time zones, set to when noon occurred in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans. But that would create potential problems for people living in the West, so the idea eventually evolved into four "time belts" set to straddle the 75th, 90th, 105th, and 115th meridians.

On October 11, 1883, the General Railroad Time Convention met again in Chicago. And it was formally decided that the new standard of time would take effect a little more than a month later, on Sunday, November 18, 1883.

As the date for the big change approached, newspapers published numerous articles explaining how the process would work.

The shift only amounted to a few minutes for many people. In New York City, for instance, the clocks would be turned back four minutes. Going forward, noon in New York would occur at the same moment as noon in Boston, Philadelphia, and other cities in the East.

In many towns and cities, jewelers used the event to drum up business by offering to set watches to the new time standard. And though the new time standard was not sanctioned by the federal government, the Naval Observatory in Washington offered to send, by telegraph, a new time signal so people could synchronize their watches.


The boundaries of the Eastern Time Zone have moved westward since the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) took over time-zone management from railroads in 1938. For example, the easternmost and northernmost counties in Kentucky were added to the zone in the 1940s, and in 1961 most of the state went Eastern. In 2000, Wayne County, on the Tennessee border, switched from Central to Eastern. [1]

In March 2018, the Florida Legislature passed a bill requesting authorization from Congress for year-round daylight saving time, which would effectively put Florida on Atlantic Standard Time year-round (except for west of the Apalachicola River, which would be on Eastern Standard Time year-round). [2] A similar bill was proposed for the Canadian province of Ontario by its legislative assembly in late 2020, which would have a similar effect on the province if passed. [3]

For those in the United States, daylight saving time for the Eastern Time Zone was introduced by the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which specified that daylight saving time would run from the last Sunday of April until the last Sunday in October. [4] The act was amended to make the first Sunday in April the beginning of daylight saving time beginning in 1987. [4]

Later, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended daylight saving time in the United States, beginning in 2007. Since then, local times change at 2:00 a.m. EST to 3:00 a.m. EDT on the second Sunday in March, and return from 2:00 a.m. EDT to 1:00 a.m. EST on the first Sunday in November. [4] In Canada, daylight saving time begins and ends on the same days and at the same times as it does in the United States. [5] [6]

In Canada, the following provinces and territories are part of the Eastern Time Zone: [7]

All observe daylight saving time in sync with the United States, with very localized exceptions.

The boundary between time zones is set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations, with the boundary between the Eastern and Central Time Zones being specifically detailed in 49 C.F.R. part 71. [8]

Seventeen states and Washington, D.C. are located entirely within the Eastern Time Zone. They are:

Five states are partly in the Eastern Time Zone, with the remaining portions in the Central Time Zone. They are:

    – peninsula and Big Bend regions east of the Apalachicola River along with portions of Gulf County south of the Intracoastal Waterway. – all except for northwest (Gary) and southwest (Evansville) regions – eastern 60%, including the state's three largest metropolitan areas: Louisville, Lexington, Northern Kentucky – all, except for the four Upper Peninsula counties that border Wisconsin: Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, and Menominee – East Tennessee[9]

Additionally, Phenix City, Alabama, and several nearby communities in Russell County, Alabama unofficially observe Eastern Time. This is due to their close proximity to Columbus, Georgia, which is on Eastern Time.

    : This is the only Mexican state to observe EST. It moved from Central Time to Eastern Time after a successful lobbying effort by tourism interests. [10] Quintana Roo does not observe daylight saving time.

The Bahamas and Haiti officially observe both Eastern Standard Time during the winter months and Eastern Daylight Time during the summer months. Cuba generally follows the U.S. with Eastern Standard Time in the winter, and Eastern Daylight Time in the summer, but the exact day of change varies year to year. Cayman Islands and Jamaica use Eastern Standard Time year-round.

Turks and Caicos Islands Edit

The Turks and Caicos Islands followed Eastern Time with daylight saving until 2015, when the territory switched to the Atlantic Time Zone. The Turks and Caicos Islands switched back to the pre-2015 schedule in March 2018.<rijkjjef> "DST Dates Confirmed". Timeanddate.com. 25 July 2017 . Retrieved 10 January 2019 . </ref> A 2017 consultation paper highlighted the advantage for business and tourism of being in the same time zone as the eastern United States as an important factor in the decision. [11]

In South America, the Brazilian states of Acre and the southwest part of Amazonas use Eastern Standard Time. [12] In 2008, Brazil changed the zone of these regions to be closer to that of the Brazilian Capital however, the change was unpopular and thus undone in 2013. [13] Additionally, the countries of Panama, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador (excluding the Galápagos Islands, which use Central Standard Time), also use Eastern Standard Time year-round. [14]

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On the 25th December as for every other morning of the year, the sun rises on a new day on the east coast of Australia. The International Date Line runs down throught the Pacific ocean just to the east of New Zealand.

Derived from wee, meaning little, and ane meaning one, wean is a word most commonly used in the West of Scotland to refer to a young child, and is sometimes also spoken as wee yin or ‘little one’. Wee is a word whose current meaning is in little dispute, but whose origins are interesting and complex.

Time Zone Calculator

This Time Zone Calculator converts between different time zones. To determine time zones for various locations, use this page as a reference.

What is Time Zone

A time zone is a region on Earth that uses a uniform time. They are often based on boundaries of countries or lines of longitude. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory located in Greenwich, London, considered to be located at a longitude of zero degrees. Although GMT and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) essentially reflect the same time, GMT is a time zone, while UTC is a time standard that is used as a basis for civil time and time zones worldwide. Although GMT used to be a time standard, it is now mainly used as the time zone for certain countries in Africa and Western Europe. UTC, which is based on highly precise atomic clocks and the Earth's rotation, is the new standard of today.

UTC is not dependent on daylight saving time (DST), though some countries switch between time zones during their DST period, such as the United Kingdom using British Summer Time in the summer months.

Most time zones that are on land are offset from UTC. UTC breaks time into days, hours, minutes, and seconds, where days are usually defined in terms of the Gregorian calendar. Generally, time zones are defined as + or - an integer number of hours in relation to UTC for example, UTC-05:00, UTC+08:00, and so on. UTC offset can range from UTC-12:00 to UTC+14:00. Most commonly, UTC is offset by an hour, but in some cases, the offset can be a half-hour or quarter-hour, such as in the case of UTC+06:30 and UTC+12:45.

World Time Zone Map

Time zones throughout the world vary, and used to vary even more than they currently do. It wasn't until 1929 before most countries adopted hourly time zones Nepal, the final holdout, did not adopt a standard offset of UTC until 1956, and even then, has a less common offset of UTC+5:45.

Generally, a time change of 1 hour is required with each 15° change of longitude, but this does not necessarily always happen. For example, China and India only use a single time zone even though they are countries that encompass far larger an area than 15° of longitude. Russia on the other hand, is divided into 11 time zones, though at one point this was reduced to 9 time zones. As can be seen, although there is a general standard throughout the world for defining time zones, it is still highly dependent on the country, and is subject to change.

The following map displays the standard time zones across the world. Click the map to enlarge it.

U.S. Time Zone Map

Many countries have more than one time zone. As a general rule of thumb, a change of 15° of longitude should result in a time difference of 1 hour.

In the U.S., there are a total of 9 time zones used. Likely the most well known include Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific Time Zones. These time zones encompass most of the contiguous United States.

  • Eastern Time Zone (ET): UTC-05:00 &ndash includes 22 states in the eastern part of the contiguous United States, including some parts of Canada, Mexico, Panama, and the Caribbean islands.
  • Central Time Zone (CT): UTC-06:00 &ndash includes parts of Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Central America, some of the Caribbean islands, and parts of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Only 9 states are fully within the Central Time Zone. Eleven are shared with either the Mountain Time Zones or the Eastern Time zones.
  • Mountain Time Zone (MT): UTC-07:00 &ndash includes parts of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. 5 states are fully within the MT, Ten are shared with either the Pacific Time Zone or the Central Time Zone.
  • Pacific Time Zone (PT): UTC-08:00 &ndash includes parts of Canada, the western U.S., and western Mexico. California and Washington are fully within PT. Three states are split between the Pacific Time Zone and the Mountain Time Zone, and Alaska is split between the Pacific Time Zone and Alaska Time Zone.

Atlantic, Alaska, Hawaii-Aleutian, Samoa, and Chamorro Time Zones cover the rest of the United States including Alaska, Hawaii, and the other U.S. territories.

All of these time zones have standard time zones that are offset from UTC from UTC-04:00 through UTC+10:00, though some additionally observe daylight saving time (DST). During DST, the regions that observe DST are offset one hour closer to UTC. The regions that don't observe DST include those in the Atlantic, Samoa, and Chamorro Time Zones.

Daylight Saving Time

Many countries or regions, especially those in Europe and North America practice daylight saving time (DST), sometimes referred to as "summer time," with the intent of saving energy. This typically involves advancing the time on a clock by one hour in early spring, and "rolling back" the time in autumn. Manipulating the time as the seasons change can better synchronize working hours with sunrise and sunset times in certain areas. This is less relevant for higher altitude areas (where sunrise and sunset times are significantly offset with regular working hours regardless of time manipulation) as well as locations near the equator (since there is small variation in daylight throughout the year).

* This Time Zone Calculator does not consider Daylight Saving Time in its calculations.

In 1883, U.S. and Canadian railroads adopted a four-zone system to govern their operations and reduce the confusion resulting from some 100 conflicting locally established “sun times” observed in terminals across the country. States and municipalities then adopted one of the four zones, which were the eastern, central, mountain, and Pacific Time zones. Local decisions on which time zone to adopt were usually influenced by the time used by the railroads.

Federal oversight of time zones began in 1918 with the enactment of the Standard Time Act, which vested the Interstate Commerce Commission with the responsibility for establishing boundaries between the standard time zones in the continental United States. This responsibility was transferred from the Interstate Commerce Commission to DOT when Congress created DOT in 1966.

Today, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. §§ 260-64) establishes a system of uniform Daylight Saving Time throughout the Nation and its possessions, and provides that either Congress or the Secretary of Transportation can change a time-zone boundary.

Time zones

This is a list of countries, regions, and territories grouped by time zone.

—William Shakespeare, Sonnet 60

Although many time zones have descriptive names used by people in them, they are least ambiguously identified by their relationship to UTC (Universal Time, Co-ordinated). UTC used to be called GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), after the Royal Observatory located in the Greenwich area of London.

UTC is also sometimes called Z or Zulu time. A time may be written as e.g. 21:45Z with the Z indicating UTC. The "Z" is for "zero", and "Zulu" is the two-way radio pronunciation of "Z". It comes from the nautical system in which each time zone was assigned a letter.

Time zones east of UTC and west of the International Date Line are specified by the number of hours ahead of UTC (e.g. UTC+4) zones west of UTC and east of the Date Line are specified by the number of hours behind UTC (e.g. UTC-6). Crossing the Date Line going eastward, clocks are turned back a full 24 hours, and vice versa in the opposite direction. (The total span of time zones covers more than 24 hours because the Date Line jogs westward and eastward to keep certain national island groupings on the same calendar day, although they are not within a single time zone.)

You need to take some care when planning trips that cross several time zones, e.g.,

  • Your "body clock" may experience some stress as you "tell" it to meet business appointments, tours and other obligations perhaps a few or several hours different from the hours you normally rest.
  • You may miss an important obligation, or connections with scheduled transport, simply by not understanding what will be the correct local time as you travel.
  • Crossing the International Date Line can cause confusion about on what date you'll arrive, e.g.,
    • Starting a 12–15 hour flight from the U.S. west coast to Japan or Hong Kong in late evening can land you there in the morning two calendar days later.
    • If starting the reverse course by midday, you may, in a way, travel back in time, as you land earlier than you started. For example a typical flight from Sydney to LA will take off at lunchtime and land early in the morning on the same calendar date! This also occurs for short flights from an earlier to a later time zone, for instance from Minsk to Warsaw, though in those cases you will generally arrive less than an hour before you started.

    If your travel has time zone complexities or possible impacts on your health or comfort, consult an expert as you plan it.

    In different parts of each time zone, sunrise and sunset can occur at vastly different times than you might be used to. So it might be a good idea to check sunrise and sunset times for the time of year you'll be travelling to your destination.

    Jet lag Edit

    Jet lag is a mismatch between your body clock and the local time wherever you are. It's caused by rapid travel across time zones, and compounded by the fact that long hours spent on a plane can cause you to sleep too much, or not enough, possibly at the wrong time. Flights from east to west, where you gain a few hours, are usually a bit easier, as most people find it easier to stay up a little later than to go to bed earlier. A rule of thumb is that you recover about 1 hour difference per day. You may find that on your way out, you are fine after just a couple of days, but you will really notice the recovery period on your way home. At that point your body clock will be really confused and it will take a while for it to sort things out.

    You can aid the process a bit by trying to operate on your new local time as early as possible, and spending the daylight hours first few days in your new time zone outdoors. If you're going to land early in the day, try to sleep on the plane so you arrive refreshed and ready for a full day of activity. Conversely, if you're going to arrive near the evening, try to stay awake on the plane so that you'll be tired when you arrive and can get a lengthy sleep.

    In many jurisdictions, local time is set forward by an extra hour in summer to "shift" daylight hours to the end of the day. This is known in the UK as British Summer Time (BST, GMT+1) and almost anywhere else as Daylight Saving Time (DST) or (name of local time zone) Daylight Time.

    In temperate northern countries, DST usually starts late March/early April and ends late October/early November exact start dates vary by country. Equatorial nations typically use no DST southern nations will use dates that match their local summer. It's not unheard of for an individual province or state — or even a piece of one province — to opt out of a DST scheme in effect in the rest of the same nation. Due to the nature of daylight saving time the difference in time zones may vary during the year as one country doesn't have daylight saving time while the other does, or both have it but start at different times. However due to increasing commerce and international communication via the internet and other nearly instantaneous modes, there are increasing efforts to harmonize those things, especially among direct neighbors or political entities with good relations with each other.

    As can be seen on the map above, some time-zones seem to defy logic and were mostly drawn by national or regional governments to make commerce and administration easier. This can have strange consequences, most notably in the case of China which "should" span five time zones but for political reasons observes the same (Beijing) time in all its territory. To complicate matters, in the restive province of Xinjiang, Beijing time is used by ethnic Han, but UTC +6 is used by ethnic Uyghurs. Departure times of long distance transport are given in one time zone (usually that of the departure point, although the Trans-Siberian railway had long been run on Moscow time throughout Russia). Sir Sandford Fleming, inventor of time zones, was a railway man as rail travel was the advance that made standard time zones necessary. Some railways published schedules with disclaimers like "all times are X time" even before time zones legally existed. Stations sometimes had a clock showing railway time while the town hall or church showed a different "local time" a few minutes off.

    The time zones (and the International Date Line) often snake around political boundaries Chicago lags a full hour behind Thunder Bay because the latter is on Ottawa's side of a provincial boundary. There's a 21-hour time difference between the Diomede Islands, a mere 3 km (1.9 mi) apart but separated by the International Date Line. Visiting the Aroostook Valley Country Club? By the time you get to the 19th hole, you may be wondering where that extra hour went. as the clubhouse was built in New Brunswick as a measure to circumvent Prohibition, putting it an hour ahead of the same course's pro shop in Maine.

    Another odd time-zone border lies in Europe where (also mostly due to political reasons) going west from France lets you stay in the same time zone (when you should have to change from Central European time to UTC or even UTC-1) but going north from France to Britain you will have to change time-zone.

    A bunch of odd time zones also exist in Australia where the central states and territories of South Australia and the Northern Territory are meant to follow UTC+9, but instead, they follow UTC+9.5 to minimise the difference and disruption when going to the eastern states. Unusually, the outback New South Welsh city of Broken Hill, is completely situated in New South Wales, 30km away from the SA border, follows ACST, and not AEST. And worst of all, there are small towns scattered across the middle of nowhere in WA close to the NT border. The problem here is, that some choose to follow AWST (UTC+8) or ACST (UTC+9.5). There's no discrete border between these time zones, and as such, you could be turning your watches back and forth by 1.5 hours frequently in these areas. And finally, in the Gold Coast-Tweed Heads (Qld-NSW), during summer, you may unexpectedly cross the border, you might have travelled an hour ahead or behind.

    Daylight Saving Time can further complicate this. Born as a wartime energy conservation measure, the adoption of DST is inherently political and its abolition (as proposed by the European Union for the near future) just as political. Most tropical countries see absolutely no need for DST, keeping standard time year round. Southern Hemisphere countries have opposite summer and winter to the Northern Hemisphere. There is no universally agreed point of the year to change from standard to daylight saving time, leaving wild leaps and fluctuations where one country has already changed and the other has not. Sometimes, one country makes a political decision to start daylight savings time early during a conflict or an energy crisis the US did this during the 1973-74 oil embargo, leaving the Thousand Islands briefly in two different time zones and disrupting TV/radio broadcast schedules. If you travel during that time or call home, inform yourself of the local time at both your destination and point of origin.

    A handful of time zones differ from UTC not by full hours but by (usually) some other multiple of 15 minutes. North Korea adopted UTC+8:30 briefly (which differs from South Korea's UTC+9 by half an hour) only to drop it just as abruptly during a 2018 thaw in relations both moves were deemed political by some. Newfoundland island (UTC-3.5, summer UTC-2.5) differs from its neighbours St. Pierre and Miquelon (UTC-3 year-round), Cape Breton (UTC-4, summer UTC-3) and Blanc Sablon (UTC-4 year-round) continue into Labrador and Newfoundland time returns, only to fall back to Cape Breton's time zone somewhere between Red Bay and Cartwright.

    On This Day: American Time Zones Established by Railways

    For most of human history, time was kept using the position of the sun, with noon occurring when the sun was at its highest peak. Most towns and cities kept their own times, usually based on sundials.

    A precise method of measuring time was not needed in agricultural societies, but with the rise of industrialization in the early 19th century there was increased use of mechanized clocks and watches. Still, time differed from town to town, creating problems as forms of communication (the telegraph) and travel (trains) became faster.

    &ldquoThe telegraph dramatized the lack of coordination in time standards, and simultaneously ushered in a new market for time services,&rdquo explains Wharton professor Matthew W. White. &ldquoIn the 1850s observatories began to use the telegraph to determine precise meridians and distances, a process involving the exchange of exact local (sun) time from two distant locations.&rdquo

    Railroads needed standardized times to keep an accurate schedule. The Great Western Railway in Britain was the first to use a standardized time, ordering in November 1840 that all its stations use London time. Many other railways followed. In November 1852, the Greenwich Observatory began sending out daily telegraphs to railways to assist in standardizing time.

    The first standard time in America was introduced by railways in New England following an August 1853 fatal head-on accident in Rhode Island that occurred because the conductors were using two different times.

    Over the next several decades, U.S. railways adopted their own standardized times, allowing them to maintain an accurate schedule. However, there were more than 50 railway times and hundreds of local times. Stations displayed multiple clocks showing the local time and the times for the various railroads, creating confusion for passengers.

    In 1880, the British government ordered that Greenwich Mean Time become the standard time to be used throughout the country. The following year, U.S. railroads appointed William F. Allen to create a plan for standardized times in the U.S.

    Sources in this Story

    Allen&rsquos proposal was based on one developed in 1869 by Charles F. Dowd, a school principal from Saratoga, N.Y., that called for four U.S. time zones, each measuring 15 degrees of longitude. Allen tweaked the map to keep existing train lines within the same time zone so that railways would not have to significantly alter their schedules. Therefore, the straight longitudinal divides proposed by Dowd were shaped to include certain cities within certain time zones.

    Allen&rsquos proposal created the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones, plus the Intercolonial time zone in Atlantic Canada. It was agreed upon by the railways in October 1883 that they would adopt Allen&rsquos standard time, which became known as Standard Railway Time, on Nov. 18, 1883. Many local governments agreed to adopt Standard Railway Time, though others refused.

    At noon on Nov. 18, the U.S. Naval Observatory adjusted its signals to reflect the new time zones. Crowds gathered near town clocks across the country to watch the clocks be changed. In many places where the time was moved back, it became known as the &ldquoday of two noons,&rdquo while other areas &ldquolost&rdquo minutes.

    &ldquoAll over the United States and Canada, people changed their clocks and watches in synchronization with their zone&rsquos standard time,&rdquo writes the Library of Congress. &ldquoIn one moment the many different standards of time that had caused conflict and confusion, were resolved into four simple standards.&rdquo

    Watch the video: Time Zones (July 2022).


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