World Time Zones History

Do you know that even before clocks were discovered using instruments that observed the movement of the sun? The ancient devices for timekeeping were water clocks and sundials. The pendulum clocks were discovered in the 17th century. However, they were later found to be inaccurate for measurement of time and longitude. The chronometer was later discovered in the year 1746. They were very accurate in time measurement and were largely used by mariners in the 19th century.This article will offer information about how the world time zones came about that you need to know.

Even after the invention of the chronometer, many towns continued to set their clocks using either sunrise or sunsets respectively. The use of the sun to determine time became awkward as the transport and telecommunications sectors improved. It is during this period that time zones were introduced.

Time zones are regions of the world that observe uniformity of time for commercial, legal and social purposes. They tend to follow geographical boundaries of countries.

The mechanical clocks started to be used widely in19th century. Each city has started to use the mean solar time at this time. The Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) was initiated in 1675 after the Royal Observatory was constructed. The observatory unit main objective was to help in the determination of longitude at the sea.

Railway Time

The sun as a means of determining time became inconvenient after the transport and communication sectors improved. This was because there were large differences between the clock time and those of the longitudes. For instance, Bristol lies about 2.5 degrees west of East London, so when it is noon inBristol, it is 10 minutes past noon in London. Time zones help to consolidate time differences into wider units usually hours, implying that nearby regions share the same standard for keeping time.

The initial adoption of standard time was done on December 1, 1847 by railway companies based in Great Britain. As the communication between countries improved the need for having the standard time increased. The British that colonized New Zealand adopted standard time on 2nd November 1868 which was to be used throughout the colony. The standard time was based on longitude that was 11 hours 30 minutes ahead of the GMT.

There was confusion on the railroads of America on the use of standard time. This was because each one decided to use standard time based on the time of their headquarters. This led to train schedules to be done using their own time.Having the world time zones was thus very important.

The World Time Zones

The first person to suggest the need of having a system of time zones of the world was Quirico Filopanti, an Italian mathematician. His dream was not realized as he died before his proposal was adopted and implemented. He suggested that each time zone should have a maximum of 24 hours normally referred as the longitudinal days.

Sanford Fleming was the second person to put a proposal on the need of having a universal time zone. He sold this idea widely during the various international conferences he attended. His proposal was later adopted and the 24-hour clock system began to be used all over the world. The earth had standard time zones by the beginning of the 1900 and is still used to date. This is how time measurement methods have evolved over the years.

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world time zones history

world time zones history

world time zones history



    • great looking us time zone map


    • time zones so hard to remember