Universal Standard Time

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Towards the end of the 19th century, many influential figures around the world came to recognize that advancing technologies such as the telegraph and rail travel were, in essence ‚ shrinking our world, with significant social and commercial implications. These leaders, including Canadian engineer and designer Sir Sandford Fleming began to push for standardized systems of national and international time keeping. (At the time, each city set its own time based on the sun, leading to plenty of confusion, particularly for rail companies and their passengers.)

Fleming devised a system of Universal Standard Time based on a 24-hour clock and 24 longitudinal time zones (due to geographic and political considerations there are now 39). In 1884, the Prime Meridian Conference actually rejected Fleming’s design, but ultimately laid the groundwork for the adoption of Universal Standard Time. By 1929 nearly all countries had adopted his model, without which, modern business and travel are virtually inconceivable.

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