Segments in this Video

Introduction: Time: How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson (02:30)


This brief overview orients viewers to the topic of time throughout history with excerpts from the program.

Underwater (02:50)

Steven Johnson boards a submarine to learn how the crew survives on an 18-hour day without sunlight.

Following Natural Rhythms (02:00)

Johnson discusses the impreciseness of early clocks. People relied on movements of the sun to tell time 500 years ago.

Galileo (04:06)

Johnson discusses the origins of modern time. In 1583, Galileo discovered that a pendulum swings in perfect time.

Maritime Navigation (03:47)

In 1598, King Phillip III offered a reward to anyone who could learn to measure longitude. Galileo set out to claim the reward.

Equal Time (02:56)

Galileo did not learn to measure longitude, but he did create an accurate pendulum clock.

Industrial Revolution (02:37)

When workers moved into factories, the need to tell time became commonplace.

Watches for the Wealthy (02:10)

In the mid-1900s a luxury, handcrafted watch was the only kind on the market.

Mass Watch Production (03:49)

In 1826, Aaron Dennison had the idea to mass produce soles for his father's shoe business. Dennison built the first factory production line for watches.

Soldier's Watch (03:09)

Dennison produced an inexpensive watch during the Civil War. Learn how wearing watches revolutionized society.

Standardizing Time (02:34)

Johnson visits Heathrow Airport to learn the importance of precise time.

Non-Standard Time (02:50)

Travel across the U.S. raised the issue of non-standard time. A railroad clerk helped launch a global system of standardized time.

William Allen (02:00)

The railroad timetable editor introduces the idea of creating standard time zones in the US.

Time Controversy (02:43)

Allen lobbied around the U.S. to create standard time zones; he met widespread opposition.

Implementation (02:12)

Johnson reads an entry from Allen about the implementation of time zones. U.S. time zones led to International time zones.

Atomic Time (03:13)

In October, 1967, scientists changed the definition of time. They used atoms to measure time, similarly to a pendulum.

Leap Second (02:00)

Adding a leap second to the clock was a controversial action. Johnson visits the U.S. Master Clock.

Ultra Precise Atomic Time (02:00)

Learn how cell phones use GPS satellites to calculate time based on location.

Radiometric Clocks (03:53)

Curie showed that radioactive atoms decay at predictable rates. This technology allowed scientists to date rocks.

Clock Impacts (01:03)

In the last 400 years, clocks transformed every facet of modern life. Johnson reflects on the progression of time keeping.

Credits: Time: How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson (00:30)

Credits: Time: How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Time: How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson

Part of the Series : How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The world today is obsessed by time. Johnson boards a submarine to discover what a lack of natural light means for a sailor’s working day and visits Heathrow, the world’s busiest airport, to try to get timings right at air traffic control. The story of getting a grip on time is full of curious garage tinkerers. One of them, railway clerk William F. Allen, was so exasperated by the chaos caused by the 8,000 local times zones in the U.S. that he fought tirelessly to standardize time into four zones. Learn how advancements in navigation, the way we work, technology and travel would have been impossible without the unsung heroes of time.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL60742

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.