The Origins of Daylight Savings Time
By: Good2GoPublished: November 10, 2016
Spring forward, fall back. Those four words have been drilled into our heads time and time again to serve as a reminder about Daylight Saving Time. Yet still, most of us have fallen victim to being either an hour early or an hour late because of the overnight time change. For the most part, Daylight Saving Time goes unnoticed after our sleep schedules adjust to either a loss or gain of an hour. A lot of people don’t even know why we use Daylight Saving Time, or DST, or understand how it’s possible to “save daylight.”
Benjamin Franklin was one of the first people to suggest the idea in an essay he wrote in 1784 called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” In the essay, he jokingly wrote to the editor of The Journal of Paris saying that Parisians could save candles by getting out of bed earlier and using natural light.
Apparently, ancient civilizations had the same idea hundreds of years before Ben Franklin was even born. In order to make better use of the day, ancient civilizations adjusted their daily schedules to the Sun. That way, they would have more daylight in which they could hunt and harvest crops. Roman water clocks, which use regulated liquid flow to measure time, used different scales for different month of the year, meaning ancient empires most likely observed DST to some extent.
Daylight Saving Time wasn’t formally introduced to the U.S. until 1918, when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law during World War I in an effort to conserve fuel. When the war ended, the seasonal time change was repealed and became a local option. That only lasted until World War II, when President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round DST from February 1942 until September 1945. After 1945, many states and cities adopted summer DST.
However, by 1962 there was too much inconsistency between states choosing whether or not to observe DST and the transportation industry pushed for federal regulation. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 mandated standard time within the established time zones exempt. Clocks would jump ahead one hour at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of April and turned back an hour at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. Either an entire state would choose to observe DST or the entire state would be exempt, with no exceptions. In 1986, Congress amended the Uniform Time Act by changing the beginning of DST to the first Sunday in April.
Today, Daylight Saving Time is in use in over 70 countries around the world, although the exact dates vary between countries. As of 2007, Daylight Saving Time in the United States begins on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November. It’s still a controversial topic as many people argue that dark winter mornings are dangerous for children going to school. There have been several studies conducted to test whether or not the time change actually saves energy. There are often conflicting results, with a few researchers arguing that DST actually increases energy consumption.
Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 6 at 2:00 a.m. If you have any clocks in your home that need to be changed, make sure you do the time warp and set your clock back one hour so you can enjoy the extra hour of sleep! While you’re in the spirit of change you may want to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
With the additional hour we’ll be getting thanks to DST, consider using your spare time to get a free quote on car insurance from Good2Go Auto Insurance, specialists in affordable coverage for high risk drivers. Visit www.good2go.com today to receive your free quote in less than 60 seconds!