The Track to Modernity
Fascinating article by Jack Beatty on how the US railroads standardised time — and changed the world. It happened on November 18, 1883, at noon.
“Nineteenth century America was a temporal wilderness. In the 1850s Americans set their watches in as many as a hundred local times. When it was noon in Chicago it was 11:27 in Omaha, 11:50 in St. Louis, 12:09 in Louisville, and 12:31 in Pittsburgh. In a century of riotous change, the railroad’s standardization of time stood out as a challenge to both nature and democracy…”.