Before the German Reich introduced the Middle European Time as standard time for the whole of Germany in 1893, which time was used in the Principality of Lippe (Fürstentum Lippe)?

  • 3
    As a reference for those researching, I believe the typical MO before standardized time zones was to use the time zones of the railroad company that has a stop there. If there wasn't one (or before there was one), it would be local time (eg: the sun is at its highest point at noon).
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jan 11 at 22:21
  • @J Fabian Meyer Since I got confused between the two, I would like to ask for clarification: This question pertains to the Principality of Lippe with the capital at Detmold, not the Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe with the capital at Bückeburg, correct?
    – njuffa
    Commented Jan 12 at 5:41
  • @njuffa "Fürstentum Lippe" means Detmold. Schaumburg was divided in 1647 (after the last heir of Schaumburg died), with one part going to Braunschweig-Lüneburg and one part going to Lippe (becoming Schaumburg-Lippe).
    – DevSolar
    Commented Jan 12 at 7:31

2 Answers 2


which time was used in the Principality of Lippe (Fürstentum Lippe)?

Each town would have used its own local mean time (LMT).

On 1848-01-18, railway time was introduced to the Prussian railway system based on the Berliner Zeit. The exact longitude was never definded for the Berlin Meridian in the decree, just that the time difference between the eastern and western streets of the then city of Berlin was 20 seconds. (See below)

The longitude value of 13.40 (13° 24' 00") has often been used as the Berlin Meridian until the 1950's which also corresponds to the center of the city in 1848.

  • Berliner Zeit (UTC+0:53:36)
    • or 6:24 minutes after Central European Time
      • CET-0:06:24

Since each degree is 4 minutes of time, the difference to UTC can be easily calculated

  • 13.4*4=53.6
    • 0.6*60=36

The decree of 1848 also published a list of Prussian railways stations, listing the time difference between the local mean time and the railways time. These values were rounded to the nearest 15 seconds (up or down).

The town of Minden is just north (and about the geographical center) of the Principality of Lippe.

  • Minden 17¾ (17:45) minutes after Berliner Zeit
    • Minden (UTC+0:35:51)
      • or 24:09 minutes after Central European Time
        • CET-0:24:09
1905 Minden/Lippe
Minden (UTC+0:35:51)
Berliner Zeit (UTC+0:53:36)

Für die Breite von Berlin, welche ziemlich die mittlere geographiſche Breite des preußiſchen Staatsgebietes iſt, entſpricht eine Zeitſekunde einer Ausdehnung von etwa 75 Ruthen [282.4681875 meter] von Oſt nach Weſt, ſo daß der Zeitunterſchied von dem öſtlichen bis zum weſtlichen Punkte der bewohnten Straßen Berlins etwa 20 Zeitſekunden beträgt [5649.36375 meter, 5.6493638 km]

For the latitude of Berlin, which is pretty much the average geographical latitude [width] of the Prussian state territory, one second of time corresponds to an extension of about 75 rods [282.4681875 meters] from east to west, so that the time difference from the eastern to the western point of the inhabited streets of Berlin is about 20 seconds of time [5649.36375 meters, 5.6493638 km]

  • Ruthe = 3.7662425 meter = 12 Fuß (36 Zoll)
    • 1 Pariser Linie = (1000/443.295936)=2.2558294 mm
      • 1 Fuß = 139.13 Paris Lines
    • ((((1000/443.295936)*139.13)*12)/1000)=3.7662425
Position X (Decimal) X (DMS) Y (Decimal) Y (DMS)
West 13.3583333 13° 21' 30" 52.515 52° 30' 54"
Meridian 13.40 13° 24' 0" 52.51649 52° 30' 59.36"
East 13.4416667 13° 26' 30" 52.517 52°° 31' 1.2"


  • (+1) The privately-built railway line Herford-Detmold opened in 1880 and fell to the Prussian State Railways shortly thereafter. For internal use the Prussian State Railways initially utilized "Berliner Zeit" (Berlin local time), switching to Central European Time in 1891. However, time tables and station clocks for the public continued to use local time: "Die für das Publikum gültigen sog. Stationsuhren auf den Perrons an den Stationsgebäuden zeigen dagegen die Ortszeit an, weil die für das Publikum bestimmten Fahrpläne unter Zugrundelegung der Ortszeiten angefertigt werden."
    – njuffa
    Commented Jan 12 at 6:49
  • "about 75 rods [282.4681875 meters]" – How did the editor get from "about 75", i.e., a number with at most two (but probably fewer, given the "about" qualifier) to a number with ten significant digits? Commented Jan 13 at 12:39
  • @JörgWMittag 3.7662425*75=282.4681875 Commented Jan 13 at 13:39
  • @JörgWMittag 1 Pariser Linie = (1000/443.295936)=2.2558294 mm ; ((((1000/443.295936)*139.13)*12)/1000)=3.7662425 Preußische Maße und Gewichte (1693–1872) Commented Jan 13 at 13:58
  • I still don't get where the additional precision comes from. The original source says "about 75 rods", which is an uncertainty on the order of 10 meters. The conversion inserted by the editor in square brackets suddenly is accurate to less than 1 micrometer, almost 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Is there any indication in the source text that they did, in fact, measure the circumference and rotation of the Earth to such precision? Commented Jan 14 at 20:13

I have no idea about Lippe, but I do know that The Netherlands used Amsterdam Standard Time until the German invasion in 1940. That was GMT + 19 minutes, in 1937 changed to GMT + 20 minutes. The German occupation changed to that to Berlin time, being GMT+1. Once liberated it remained so ever since.

I would not be surprised if something similar existed in Lippe, minus German occupation of course. Given the position of Lippe in relation to Berlin and Greenwich, something like GMT + 40 minutes.

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