Yesterday, I was speaking with the students of my US History class about early to mid-19th Century economic and territorial expansion in the US. Energizing, as well as resulting from, this expansion were inventions and innovations that aimed to change they way things use to be done. Among the changes discussed were the railroads and the standardization of time across the continent.
I think this episode, from one of my favorite podcasts, can add context and depth in a way that I could never do in the 35 instructional minutes I have.
On The Clock: A (Brief) History Of Time
In 1883, a coalition of railroad officials carved the continental U.S. into five time zones, introducing Americans to the idea of “standard time.” Twenty five years later, the revolutionary idea was codified into law, with the 1918 Standard Time Act.
In this episode, we’ll look at the changing ways Americans have experienced the 24-hour day — from pre-industrial times right on up through today’s era of time-shifted media. We’ll explore the impact of those powerful Gilded Age railroads, and look the role of economic forces in shaping America’s relationship with the clock. We’ll also explore how people have experienced the rhythm of night and day — and why the advent of electric lighting changed that rhythm forever. Finally, is unlimited time always a good thing? We take a loving look at basketball’s shot clock.