Once a Time in the Old West

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scaramouche, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Student of the Columbian Exchange Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
    Back in the days of the Old West, and Old East for that matter, what time it was varied from town to town, got worse state to state. Before 1883 city folk used a well known clock, in the town square say, or the clock in the jeweler's shop window. Most cities and towns used some form of solar time, resetting the "official" time piece every morning or evening. The time of day was very localized. It varied from town to town. Those who lived in the country would reset that mantle clock, or the Grandfather clock everyday at noon when the sun was straight up. Or if you had pigs, they would keep you on track.

    Back in those days they kept the Friday afternoon 2 p.m. managers meetings to a minimum. I don't know how stagecoaches maintained their schedules, though maybe due to weather, horrible roads and such they didn't ever have a 3:10 to Yuma. (I know 3:10 to Yuma is about a train.)


    The history of standard time in the United States began today, or in October, or November 1883. The railroad corporations in the U.S. and Canada got together and instituted a standard of time in four different time zones (or maybe five). Besides the hot foot Casey Jones, how else you gonna make the trains run on time?


    The old distinct private universes of time vanished when the railroads collectively decided to place our country under a scheme of four 'standard time zones', I should add these huge corporations, the first of their kind, did so without an act of congress, President or the courts. At first standardized time was not universally embraced. Eventually people started seeing advantages in the new system. Businesses really like it.


    Those forum members residing in Arizona and Indiana are welcome to weigh in on why your states (or parts of them) sometimes tick to a different clock.


    The impact of the railroads in this era can't be overstated. They grew into huge corporations and gave raise to wealth never known. The railroads took our country places we've never been and we didn't get a return ticket. They remade the economic, political, social and cultural landscape of the United States. They created enormous wealth in new business enterprises and the economic integration of the nation bringing distant farms, ranches, mines, workshops and factories into a single market. It was a revolution.

    The railroads marked the "incorporation of America" with all the advantages that implies, as well as all the stuff we hate.

    Next time you fly into LAX and your wrist watch is wrong, thank the railroad.
    Next time you listen to 'Time Has Come Today', thank the Chambers Brothers.

  2. gps man

    gps man Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    Very nice Richard. Thanks for the lesson!
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  3. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    Great lesson, Richard! I certainly appreciate the few States that never alter their time...
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  4. El Perdido

    El Perdido Fictional Western Sage

    Oct 3, 2011
    Yes, the railroads, back in the day...

    Currently I blame the Great State of Texas for moving the western end of the central time zone line further westward causing it still to be daylight well after 9:00pm here. Consequently I have dusted off some of the books I used/read/studied at the "when you finish you get a sheepskin printed with a degree" place. Re-reading them has reminded me that time may not be what we think it is...
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  5. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Student of the Columbian Exchange Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
    Mr. El, if we ever get to sit down in a saloon together remind me to tell you the time it took me six days to get across the Great State of Texas in a perfectly functioning gasoline driven vehicle.
  6. switchback

    switchback Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2014
    Light at 9pm? Herein montana because of our northern extremes around june 20 its still quite light at 11pm and it sorta sux for working folk. OK, all the alaska folks can chime in now.

    Great read 'mouche, thanks as always
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  7. seagiant

    seagiant Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    If you REALLY want to get into TIME...

    Then learn or study Celestial Navigation!

    Don't ask me how I know this!:o.o:
    isialk likes this.
  8. isialk

    isialk Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 7, 2017
    Thanks for the education Scaramouche!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  9. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Student of the Columbian Exchange Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
  10. fatbaldguy

    fatbaldguy Cranky old curmudgeon

    Jul 28, 2017
    I larnt that stuff in Uncle Sam's Yacht Club. Wern't easy neither.
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  11. Dr Awkward

    Dr Awkward Active Member Supporting Addict

    Apr 28, 2020
    I have a theory of practical time more in keeping with "island time": first we lose the second hand, a largely useless appendage. Then we take the key (big) step: no more minute hand! This would promote a more civil, relaxed approach to most everything. "See you at 4", then at some point in that hourish time/space, we meet.

    After thinking (dreaming?) about this for years, with virtually no luck promoting it with bosses, spouses and others obsessed by punctuality. I found this:

    The Slow Watch.
    One hand, twenty four hours.
    See you at four...
    nathanotis likes this.
  12. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    I‘ve said it for years “I’ve never been late a day in my life.” Maybe it’s the discipline instilled by the Military, but I try my best to live those words. I find it very disrespectful not to be on time. If I tell you I’ll see you at 3:00 PM - by God I’ll do my best to be there at 2:45 PM. Punctuality and promptness are required.

    Now... Daylight savings time, falling back and and moving forward in the Spring & Fall, I can do without. I can understand the time zone thing, but to turn the clocks ahead or back I feel is a waisted effort. Rant over. :)
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  13. switchback

    switchback Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2014
    It is a military thing Charlie. "If you're not 5 minutes early, you're late." As a general contractor, my carpenters were my employees ( not like today when everyone is a subcontractor) that way I had total control, but I digress, they hated me saying the above quote.
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  14. Dr Awkward

    Dr Awkward Active Member Supporting Addict

    Apr 28, 2020
    Copy that Charlie. It's only a dream. Lateness is rude, and I try and avoid it, but generally I prefer a less scheduled life. It could be the indiscipline instilled by too many years surfing and climbing. My suggestion would only work if we all agreed that 3 lasted an hour, which obviously ain't happening any time soon. My post was very much tongue in cheek, although the Slow Watch is available for sale.
    41 Charlie and isialk like this.

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