Daylight Saving Time in the United States ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6, when the clocks fall back by an hour, and many of us will certainly enjoy an extra hour of much-needed sleep. Meanwhile, our friends at ATimelyPerspective.com offer a fun look at the origins of DST, which happen to stretch back to the days of our Founding Fathers. Here is a little insight into the history of DST for true time junkies.
Some credit the concept of DST to American politician and inventor Benjamin Franklin, who, in a 1784 essay entitled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” suggested people get out of bed earlier in the morning to use the light instead of candles.
More than a century later, in 1895, a New Zealand entomologist, George Vernon Hudson, who liked to collect insects in his free time, wanted more daylight time for his studies, so he presented a report to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight savings time program. Though the concept wasn’t embraced internationally, it laid the groundwork for what would come later.
In 1905, British builder William Willett proposed the idea of DST, suggesting setting clocks ahead in April and switching them back in September. His idea caught the attention of Robert Pearce, who introduced a bill to the House of Commons in 1908. The concept was opposed by farmers in England and did not pass, but it laid more groundwork.
In 1916, Germany was the first country to implement DST and several countries followed suit, including America.
In the United States after World War II, states could choose whether or not they wanted to impose DST and on which dates. However, mass confusion caused Congress to establish the Uniform Time Act in 1966, which set a protocol for DST times/dates. Still, some U.S. states/territories don’t participate, calling out the dubious usefulness of DST.
As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the length of DST in America was extended by four weeks, starting in 2007. Additionally, while it is recognized around the world, not all countries practice DST, and those that do, do so on different dates.
Daylight Savings Time image: karenroach/Bigstockphoto.com