Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time
by Clark Blaise
Even by Victorian standards, the Scots/Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming was a man of extraordinary energy - designer of Canada's first postage stamp and ... Show synopsis Even by Victorian standards, the Scots/Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming was a man of extraordinary energy - designer of Canada's first postage stamp and the first street maps of Canadian cities, engineer of the trans-Canadian railway to British Columbia and of the trans-Pacific telegraph cable from London to Australia and New Zealand via Canada and Fiji, he yet found the time to write volumes of diaries, thousands of letters and fifteen books. Time Lord tells the story of yet another achievement - Fleming's greatest - his idea of unifying the world's times in a series of time zones, an idea originally rejected as too trivial for discussion by the Royal Canadian Society of Engineers for whom he wrote his first paper on the subject. Twenty years later, after a series of journeys to the British astronomer-Royal, the Czar's Astronomer, the courts of Prussia, Italy and Japan and finally the American President, and after opposition from many quarters, the world adjusted its clocks and accepted Fleming's new system. It is an extraordinary story, wonderfully illuminating of the past, and of a fascinating man, difficult, irascible, but ultimately brilliant. Comparable obviously to Longitude, Fleming's achievement, in a world without modern communications or transport, makes the achievement of a single European currency seem like a minor detail in comparison.