Standard time

Standard time

Standard time is the result of synchronizing clocks in different geographical locations within a time zone to the same time rather than using the local meridian as in local mean time or solar time. The time so set has come to be defined in terms of offsets from Universal Time. (See more about standard time.)

Where daylight saving time is used, "standard time" may refer to the time without daylight saving time.

History of standard time

Great Britain

A standardized time system was first used by British railways on December 11, 1847, when they switched from local mean time to GMT. It was also given the name Railway time reflecting the important role the railway companies played in bringing it about. The vast majority of Great Britain's public clocks were being synchronised using GMT by 1855.

North America

Prior to the 1883, local mean time was used throughout North America, resulting in an inordinate number of local times. This caused convoluted regional and national train schedules. Sandford Fleming, a Canadian, proposed Standard Time at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute on February 8 1879. On October 11, 1883, the heads of the major railroads met in Chicago at the former Grand Pacific Hotel [ [ Picture of plaque at the site] ] to adopt the Standard Time System. The new system was adopted by most states almost immediately after railroads did so and finally officially adopted by the U.S. government almost fifty years later.

In 2007 the United States enacted a federal law formalizing the use of Coordinated Universal Time as the basis of standard time, and the role of the Secretary of Commerce (effectively, the National Institute of Standards and Technology) and the Secretary of the Navy (effectively, the U.S. Naval Observatory) in interpreting standard time. [21st Century Competitiveness Act of 2007, Section 3013. [ H.R. 2272: 110th CONGRESS House Bills] , January 4 2007.]


Standard time has been criticised by a small but vocal minority. The basis of such criticisms range from distrust of government to a belief that it disturbs circadian rhythms, to preferring traditional, non-mechanical natural markers of time, like sunsets, noon and sunrise. [cite web|url=|accessdate=2007-02-26|title=Standard time began with the railroads|note="For millennia, people have measured time based on the position of the sun."]

The counter-argument to circadian rhythm-based criticism is that there is no specific reason that companies and business have to open or close at a specific time.

ee also

*Solar time
*Time zone
*Universal Time
*Standard time movement


Further reading

*cite journal|author=Ian R. Bartky|title=The adoption of standard time|journal=Technology and Culture|volume=30|issue=1|date=1989-01|pages=25–56|url=|doi=10.2307/3105430
*cite journal|author=Eviatar Zerubavel|title=The standardization of time: a sociohistorical perspective|journal=The American Journal of Sociology|volume=88|issue=1|date=1982-07|pages=1–23|url=|month=Jul|year=1982|doi=10.1086/227631
*cite web
url =
title = World Time Scales
accessdate = 1997-08-26
year = 2002
publisher = National Institute of Standards and Technology Physics Laboratory

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Standard time — Time Time, n.; pl. {Times}. [OE. time, AS. t[=i]ma, akin to t[=i]d time, and to Icel. t[=i]mi, Dan. time an hour, Sw. timme. [root]58. See {Tide}, n.] 1. Duration, considered independently of any system of measurement or any employment of terms… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • standard time — Time measured by a standard adapted to mean solar time to convenient use in commerce, business and the ordinary affairs of life, the country being divided into time zones, each zone having as an accepted time, the actual sun time at the middle… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • standard time — UK US noun [U] ► MEASURES the time that is officially used in a country or an area of a country: »In the fall, staff get paid an hour overtime during the return to standard time. → Compare DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME(Cf. ↑daylight saving time), GMT(Cf.… …   Financial and business terms

  • Standard Time — (Einheitszeit in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika). Bis Ende 1883 rechneten die Eisenbahnen der Vereinigten Staaten eine jede für ihr Netz nach Ortszeit. Die hieraus bei der großen Ausdehnung der einzelnen Eisenbahnnetze hervorgehenden… …   Enzyklopädie des Eisenbahnwesens

  • standard time — ☆ standard time n. 1. the time in any of the 24 time zones, each an hour apart, into which the earth is divided: it is based on distance east or west of Greenwich, England; the 8 zones of North America (Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain,… …   English World dictionary

  • standard time — n [U] the time to which all clocks in a particular area of the world are set …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • standard time — standard ,time noun uncount the official time in a country or region …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • standard time — the civil time officially adopted for a country or region, usually the civil time of some specific meridian lying within the region. The standard time zones in the U.S. (Atlantic time, Eastern time, Central time, Mountain time, Pacific time,… …   Universalium

  • standard time — noun the official time in a local region (adjusted for location around the Earth); established by law or custom • Syn: ↑civil time, ↑local time • Hypernyms: ↑time • Hyponyms: ↑Atlantic Time, ↑A …   Useful english dictionary

  • standard\ time — • ST • standard time • slow time noun Clock time that is set by law or agreement in a country or in part of a country; especially, in the United States: the clock time used between fall and spring, which is an hour slower than the time used in… …   Словарь американских идиом

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.