Like so many others out in the big wide world, am I horrible when it comes to time… it always run away from me… therefore will I briefly look at time. We have already this November seen a post about clocks… so it’s not examine them, but more a brief history of timekeeping, or more correctly Standard time. Its an object, not quite so tangible as a clock or a toothbrush or makeup, but still an ‘object’ and an idea that effect our lives everyday.
Calendars have existed for almost 6000 years, so people have measured time for a long time, but for the majority of this time was time according to the passing of the sun and the moon through the sky. Which due to the shape of the Earth means that time is different even between short distances. Basically does this mean that the sun is in the south at different points of the day in London and Cornwall, or Kirkenes and Bergen. even though each of these two pairs today are in the same timezone as its other partner.
So why is this? Well there have been numerous of books and articles about this written, so I’ll just briefly remind you of its reasons: the Train. To be able to keep trains on time, did the earliest conductors on trains have to turn and adapt their clocks to the local time between each station. However to save them this work, and to standardise time so that a train leaving 11.27 from London, would still leave London at point of time when clocks would also show 11.27 in Cornwall. However until 1847, would 11.27 in London not be 11.27 in Cornwall, but maybe 11.xx. I’m unsure how much the time difference was, but it was at least not the same time according to the pre 1847 clock.
In 1847, was Greenwich Time introduced as a standard time for some railroads in Britain, and the rest of the country soon followed. In 1884 did 27 countries agree about how to divide the world into universal standard time zones. However, some countries did take a bit longer to finalize their standard time, and Norway only got its standard time in 1895. Before that the time differed 22 minutes between Oslo and Bergen. Imagine watching the X factor on a sunday evening, and you turn on the TV and it’s already 22 minutes into the program just because it’s not your city they calculate time from. Well that’s when you should be glad standard time exist. Of course standard time is good for other reasons as well, not just to manage to turn on the TV for your favourite TV program. Like for example remembering when your article or homework is due, for none want to be late with that. But no matter how we calculate time, if we have standard time or not, time will always run away from us (or come towards us) so make sure you check your clock is correct at least, so you’ll if nothing else know when you should have been on time.
If you want to know more, then just go to your local library and see what they have, but please mind the time, as they do usually have opening and closing hours.