Local Time Zone
Time accuracy has improved since our area was settled. Initially, accuracy within a day of the month was sufficient. Population growth required coordination between multiple people.
Primitive sundials could be achieved by driving a stick into the ground and observing the shadow it cast. Noon was when the shadow cast was shortest. This “sun time” system is only useful on sunny days.
Human nature dictates that many arguments would arise over exactly when the shortest shadow occurred. This controversy was sometimes solved by having one person determine Noon, and then ring a bell so others would know the time of day. Today with our GPS clocks, we would worry about the time required for the sound waves to move out from the bell. When the world traveled at walking speed (approximately 4 miles an hour), a bell could easily communicate a point in time.
As more people wanted to work together, the need for “standard” time became apparent. While a bell worried for a small farm or village, it did not scale to larger areas.
One solution was to purchase an accurate timepiece (necessary so that time could be maintained even between the sunny days that allowed Noon to be checked). Then everyone in that area would take that as the area’s standard time.
Wikipedia article on Time Zones
This worked until railroads allowed movement over a larger area. Early railroads were often single track. Trains would need to pull into a siding to allow another train to pass. Both trains had to agree on when Noon occurred. Besides, Noon occurred at a different time at the opposite ends of an East-West railroad. Railroads each soon adopted one “time” for the entire railroad. Railroads had so much economic influence on the areas they served that those areas soon conformed to the railroad’s clock.
Each time two railroads crossed paths, they needed to agree on how to set their clocks.
Farmers wanted to stay as close to “sun time” as possible because they often could not do fieldwork until the sun burned off the overnight dew. However, larger time zones simplified a railroad’s scheduling.
As railroads and their power grew, they drove the adoption of the USA’s lower forty-eight states’ division into four time zones Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific. By this time, the telegraph allowed time synchronization over these four large area.
In the twentieth century, farmers lost economic clout. Simultaneously, modern communications, electric lighting, and more national enterprises increased pressure for the Eastern time zone to expand west into the central time zone.
The newspaper articles below chronicle Maysville-Mason County’s move from Sun time, to Central time to Eastern time to Easter daylight Savings time.The_Evening_Bulletin_Sat__Nov_17__1883_
Pittsburgh moves clock 17 minutes to switch from Sun to Standard timeThe_Evening_Bulletin_Wed__Jan_12__1887_
Dayton adopts “Standard” timeThe_Evening_Bulletin_Mon__Mar_4__1889_
C&O adopts Central Standard time from Clifton Forge to CincinnatiThe_Evening_Bulletin_Thu__May_8__1890_
Maysville Commission adopts “Standard” time over “Sun” timeThe_Evening_Bulletin_Mon__Mar_24__1890_
Insurance hinges on Solar vs Standard timeThe_Evening_Bulletin_Mon__Nov_16__1903_
Daylight Savings TimeThe_Public_Ledger_Wed__Dec_8__1915_
Eastern Standard TimeThe_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Mon__Nov_7__1938_
Eastern Daylight TimeThe_Lexington_Herald_Sat__May_2__1953_