November 18, 1883

On November 18, 1883, American and Canadian railroads, with the cooperation of their federal governments, instituted five standard continental time zones, which ended the confusion of thousands of separate local times. That’s right, in the United States and Canada, cities and towns just a few miles apart would and did have separate times. It could be 11:30 AM in Podunk, Iowa and three miles up the road in Podunkadunk, it would be 11:00 AM. And. And. Just a few miles more up the road in Podunkadunkadunk, it would be 11:45 AM. Railroads have got to run on precise time schedules to prevent trains from crashing into each other. The fix went in and just like you’d think, people weren’t happy. Each place wanted their time to be the one that matter. But Big Railroad didn’t care and the fix stuck and trains didn’t crash into each other because they were running on different time schedules. Sometimes Big Government actually helps. Well, more than sometimes.

There are many aspects of today's world that wouldn't be possible without a standard method of keeping time. Things such as cell phones, computers, and GPS couldn't exist at all. Share this post, if you're glad we made it through the birthing pains that always come with great leaps forward.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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