Send me an E-mail
(Please, no questions
 about value.)

Instructions for sending photographs of your pieces with your question.

What American glass company produced more art glass than any other?

Mount Washington Glass
Boston & Sandwich Glass Co.
The New England Glass Co.
                     To see the answer

The Legend of Bohemian Glass:
A Thousand Years of Glassmaking in the Heart of Europe

by Antonin Langhamer

This book offers a comprehensive overview of the history and traditions of Czech art glass. Divided into 12 chapters, the book details the evolution and development of glassmaking as an art form from the earliest times, when the first glass beads appeared in central Europe, to the present.
More Books


The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany

This video introduces the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany, highlighting the expansive range of artistic objects created during his career. It also showcases Tiffany Studios' Favrile glass and provides an historical look at the life of Tiffany.

Click on the title to view.

And look for other videos in selected articles.

Have Bob speak
 on antiques to your group or organization.

More Information

Can't find what
 you're looking for?

Go to our Sitemap

Find out what's coming in the
2022 Fall Edition

of the



Share pages of this ezine with your friends using the buttons provided with each article.

Download our
Decorative Periods and Styles Chart

Read our newest glossary:

Antique Furniture Terminology
 from A to Z

courtesy of AntiquesWorldUK

Videos have
come to

The Antiques

Expand your antiques experience.

Look for videos
in various

Just click on the
arrow to play.

Featured Antique

Bohemian Tango Cordial Set

 Keeping the Trains on Time
by Bob Brooke


On November 18, 1883, the way the world noted time changed forever. Until that day, every town and city followed its own time. Life was slower. Then something happened that changed the way people moved around. And that something was the coming of the railroads. No longer would it takes days or weeks to get from one place to another. The railroads saw to that. And with the speeding up of travel, something had to be done to get all the trains on time.

Before clocks, people kept time using different instruments to observe the Sun’s meridian passing at noon. For example, the time on a sundial―which was typically different for every location and dependent on longitude. The earliest time measuring devices we know of are sundials and water clocks.

During the 17th century, clockmakers developed the pendulum clock. However, these clocks weren’t sufficiently accurate to be used at sea to determine longitude and for scientific time measurement in the 18th century.

In 1764, they had invented the chronometer, used to measure time accurately in spite of motion or varying conditions. These became popular instruments among merchant mariners during the 19th century.

Clocks Based on the Sun
Even after the chronometer many towns and cities set clocks based on sunsets and sunrises. Though dawn and dusk occur at different times, people barely noticed time differences between distant locations before the 19th century because of long travel times and the lack of long-distance communications.

The use of local solar time became increasingly awkward as railways and telecommunications improved. Time zones were, therefore, a compromise, relaxing the complex geographic dependence while still allowing local time to be approximate with mean solar time.

During the late 1800s. Each train station set its own clock making it difficult to coordinate train schedules and confusing passengers. Time calculation became a serious problem for people traveling by train (sometimes hundreds of miles in a day),

Every city in the United States used a different time standard, so there were more than 300 local sun-times to choose from. Railroad managers tried to address the problem by establishing 100 railroad time zones, but this was only a partial solution.

Because the United States had no time standard, there was lots of confusion. Each town or city kept its own solar time, setting clocks so noon was when the sun appeared directly overhead.

What that made sense for anyone who never left town, it became complicated for travelers. Noon in Boston would be a few minutes before noon in New York City. And Philadelphians experienced noon a few minutes after New Yorkers did. And on and on, across the nation.

The expansion of the railroads in the years following the Civil War only made the confusion over all the local time zones seem worse.

The Establishment of Time Zones
Charles F. Dowd proposed a system of one-hour standard time zones for American railroads about 1863, although he published nothing about it at that time and didn’t consult railroad officials until 1869. In 1870 he proposed four ideal time zones having north–south borders. The first centered on Washington, D.C., but by 1872 that changed to the meridian 75° W of Greenwich. Each centered on geographic borders, for example, sections of the Appalachian Mountains. The American railroads never accepted his system.

Instead, U.S. and Canadian railroads implemented a version proposed by William F. Allen, the editor of the Traveler's Official Railway Guide, in 1881. The borders of its four time zones―Intercolonial, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific—ran through railroad stations, usually in major cities. For example, the border between its Eastern and Central time zones ran through Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Charleston. On Sunday, November 18, 1883, the railroads implemented Allen’s plan. This day was also called "The Day of Two Noons," because station managers reset their station clocks within each time zone as their location reached standard-time noon.

On April 11, 1883, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. and Canadian railroad officials, meeting at the General Time Convention in Chicago, agreed to create five time zones in North America—Provincial, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. On October 11, 1883, they met again and formally decided that the new standard of time would take effect a little more than a month later, on Sunday, November 18, 1883.

The shift amounted to only a few minutes for many people. In New York City, for instance, the clocks would be turned back four minutes. Going forward, noon in New York would occur at the same moment as noon in Boston, Philadelphia, and other cities in the East.

In many towns and cities, jewelers used the event to drum up business by offering to set watches to the new time standard. And though the new time standard wasn’t sanctioned by the federal government, the Naval Observatory in Washington offered to send, by telegraph, a new time signal so people could synchronize their watches.

Standard time, in terms of time zones, wasn’t established in United States law until the Act of March 19, 1918. The act also established Daylight Saving Time in the nation. Although the U.S. Congress repealed Daylight Saving Time in 1919, standard time in time zones remained in law, with the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) having the authority over time zone boundaries.

The successful adoption of standard time in the United States in 1883 set an example of how time zones could spread across the globe. The following year a time convention in Paris began the work of designating time zones worldwide. Eventually, the time zones around the globe we know today came into use.

< Back to More Back in Time                                              Next Article >

Antiques Q&A

Antiques and More on

The Antiques Almanac on Facebook

No antiques or collectibles
are sold on this site.

How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Book: How to Recognizing and Refinishing Antiques for Pleasure and Profit
Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's new book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.

Read an Excerpt

Auction News
Get up to the minute news of antiques auctions around the country and the world.

Also see
The Auction Directory

Antiques News
Read breaking news stories from the world of antiques and collectibles.

Art Exhibitions
Search for art exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world.

Home | About This Site | Antiques | Collectibles | Antique Tips | Book Shop | Antique Trivia | Antique Spotlight | Antiques News  Special Features | Caring for Your Collections | Collecting | Readers Ask | Antiques Glossaries | Resources | Contact
Copyright ©2007-2019 by Bob Brooke Communications
Site design and development by BBC Web Services