Today, most people take for granted the fact that there are different time zones across the world. However, before the proposal of worldwide time zones in 1879, and the widespread adoption of hourly time zones in 1929, most cities and regions had their own time. They used solar time, which measures time based on the suns position in the sky. Unfortunately, this caused some problems as railways and communications systems became commonplace, and a more standard way of measuring time was needed.
Who invented time zones?
The first time zone was created in 1847 by the British railway companies, which was known as Railway Time. This eventually became Britain’s official time in 1880. In 1868 New Zealand adopted a standard time to be observed throughout the country and is believed to be the first country to do so.
The person credited with the invention of worldwide time zones is Canadian engineer and inventor Sir Sandford Fleming. After missing a train in Ireland in 1876, because the schedule listed p.m instead of a.m, he developed a model for the 24 hour time system for the entire world. He called his idea Cosmic Time, which he presented at a number of international conferences. Most of the major countries adopted a standard time zone in 1929 and today every country uses standard time zones. Some countries still adapt the system to best suit their needs. This includes using 1 time zone for a large country (China and India) and other countries using quarter and half hour times zones.