Who created the first time zones?
It couldn't have been the government. No way, no how.
- MLv 67 years agoFavorite Answer
It would almost have to have been the railroads that created the original time zones. Schedules would be impossible to keep track (pun intended) of if every stop had its own sun time.
Originally, some terminal cities (like Atlanta) were in 2 time zones, since schedules started or stopped (as opposed to going through) in such cities. That minimized train schedule time zone changes. In the case of Atlanta, the tracks heading (more or less) eastward were in the Eastern Time Zone, the tracks heading (more or less) westward were in the Central Time Zone. The station itself was on the border of the time zones.
Efficient rail transportation demanded a more uniform time-keeping system. Rather than turning to the federal governments of the United States and Canada to create a North American system of time zones, the powerful railroad companies took it upon themselves to create a new time code system. The companies agreed to divide the continent into four time zones; the dividing lines adopted were very close to the ones we still use today.
Most Americans and Canadians quickly embraced their new time zones, since railroads were often their lifeblood and main link with the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.