Shortly after contact, there wasn’t always agreement about what time or date it actually was … time-keeping practices varied in the 18th century, depending on circumstances. In 1883, the US railroad industry divided the continental US into five (later four) time zones, establishing official time zones with a set standard time within each zone. The civil population nevertheless adopted ‘Railroad Time’ almost spontaneously; 85% of US towns of over ten-thousand inhabitants had done so by October 1884. Hawaiʻi did not adopt standard time until 1896, with various notices published in the papers: “Hawaiian standard time will be ten and one-half hours slow of Greenwich.”
Later, standard time was kept in Honolulu, in non-plantation towns, and at ports serving more than one plantation; and social events involving people from more than one plantation were scheduled by what was known as “Honolulu time,” “Hilo time,” etc. In 1933, the Hawaiʻi Legislature decreed daylight saving for the period between the last Sunday of each April and last Sunday of each September, but less than a month later repealed the act. WWII brought daylight saving back to the Islands. In 1947, the Territorial Legislature permanently returned to the pre-war standard time. On most of the continent, daylight saving time starts on the second Sunday in March (‘spring forward’) and ends on the first Sunday in November (‘fall back’,) with the time changes taking place at 2 am local time.