Time Zones
By WAGNER, Matthäus , 1687

Der Grosse Stunden-Weiser aller Länder auff der gantzen runden Erd-Kugel.

Planetaria, calendars, and dials
  • Author: WAGNER, Matthäus
  • Publication place: Hamburg
  • Publication date: 1687.
  • Physical description: Broadside woodcut, some minor loss to old folds and text, trimmed to neatline, old repairs to verso.
  • Dimensions: 414 by 325mm. (16.25 by 12.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 16403


An early representation of global time zones.

To the centre of the the broadside is a circle comprising of two semicircles, one coloured yellow and marked ‘Tag Studen’ (Day Hours), and the other with close engraved lines ‘Nacht Stunden’ (Night Hours). Surrounding the circle are two sets of roman numerals of I-XII, marking our 24 hours ie a whole day. The first set begin at one o’clock and and end at six o’clock, with the second beginning at seven o’clock and ending at twelve o’clock. From each hour and half hour, radiates several names of cities within the same time zone. For example midday lists Hamburg (in capital letters – as the place of publication) as well as Ulm, Genoa, and Tunis. Whilst it is midday in Hamburg, it is 11am in London, 8.30pm in Peking, and 5.30am in Havana. To the outer border are the is a depiction of the world. A op the world sits Hamburg, and as we continue clockwise round the globe, we take in the Middle East and Alexandria at 2.30pm, Central Asia and Samarkand at 5pm, Nanking and China at 5.30pm, at midnight we cross the Pacific, and land in the New World at 2am; we reach the New Sweden (Nova-Svecia) on the Delaware at 6am, and are safely back in London by 11am.

The last line of the text, below the engraving, suggests the broadside was accompanied by some text and was sold as a supplement to a book or more probably a periodical. The example in the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin was probably a part of a rare magazine ‘Gröste Denkwürdigkeiten der Welt Oder so genannte relationes curiosae’ by E.H. Happel.

Rare. We are only able to trace two institutional examples: in the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel; and the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin.