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Charles Dowd, American time zone pioneer

Charles Dowd, American time zone pioneer

H404/0180

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Charles Dowd. Engraving of Charles F. Dowd (1825- 1904), the American teacher who pioneered the use of standard time, the adoption of a single, official time in one region. The difference in local time between the east and west coasts of the USA is 3.5 hours. This caused problems for the timetables of fast trains crossing the continent. Dowd, head of a New York girls' school, solved the problem in his System of National Time for Railroads (1870). In this he proposed having four time zones in the USA to replace the 80 time standards then used. A system of 24 time zones, covering the whole world, was adopted in 1883. Ironically, Dowd was later killed by a train.

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