Universal Time and standard time
Prior to the introduction of standard time, each municipality throughout the clock-using world set its official clock, if it had one, according to the local position of the Sun (see solar time). This served adequately until the introduction of rail travel in Britain, which made it possible to travel fast enough over long distances to require continuous re-setting of timepieces as a train progressed in its daily run through several towns. Greenwich Mean Time, where all clocks in Britain were set to the same time, was established to solve this problem. Chronometers or telegraphy were used to synchronize these clocks.
Standard time zones of the world since 2016. The number at the bottom of each timezone specifies the number of hours to add to UTC to convert it to the local time.
Standard time, as originally proposed by Scottish-Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming in 1879, divided the world into twenty-four time zones, each one covering 15 degrees of longitude. All clocks within each zone would be set to the same time as the others, but differed by one hour from those in the neighboring zones. The local time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich was announced as the recommended base reference for world time on 22 October 1884 at the end of the International Meridian Conference.[b] This location was chosen because by 1884 two-thirds of all nautical charts and maps already used it as their prime meridian. The conference did not adopt Fleming's time zones because they were outside the purpose for which it was called, which was to choose a basis for universal time (as well as a prime meridian).
During the period between 1848 and 1972, all of the major countries adopted time zones based on the Greenwich meridian.
In 1935, the term Universal Time was recommended by the International Astronomical Union as a more precise term than Greenwich Mean Time, because GMT could refer to either an astronomical day starting at noon or a civil day starting at midnight. The term Greenwich Mean Time persists, however, in common usage to this day in reference to civil timekeeping.