The History of Daylight Saving Time

aaron-feature-15A week from today, we will set our clocks back an hour. While many people do not enjoy the earlier darkness, there is in fact some history behind our time manipulation…

The American law by which we turn our clock forward in the spring and back in the fall is known as the Uniform Time Act of 1966. The law does not require that anyone observe Daylight Saving Time; all the law says is that if we are going to observe Daylight Saving Time, it must be done uniformly.

Daylight Saving Time has been around for most of this century and even earlier.

Benjamin Franklin, while a minister to France, first suggested the idea in an essay titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” The essay was first published in the Journal de Paris in April 1784. But it wasn’t for more than a century later that an Englishman, William Willett, suggested it again in 1907.

In 1918, in order to conserve resources for the war effort, the U.S. Congress placed the country on Daylight Saving Time for the remainder of WW I. It was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919. The law, however, proved so unpopular that it was later repealed.

When America went to war again, Congress reinstated Daylight Saving Time on February 9, 1942. Time in the U.S. was advanced one hour to save energy. It remained advanced one hour forward year-round until September 30, 1945.

By 1966, some 100 million Americans were observing Daylight Saving Time through their own local laws and customs. Congress decided to step in and end the confusion and establish one pattern across the country, and hence we observe time changes today!

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Posted under event

This post was written by qni_it on October 25, 2009

4 Comments so far

  1. Aaron Brackett October 25, 2009 9:54 PM

    Thanks for the idea Tony!

  2. tony October 25, 2009 10:31 PM

    Not a problem Aaron. I help out when I can. I am going to try to call you at the studio someday to formally introduce myself.

  3. Renee October 26, 2009 1:46 PM

    I wish we called it “Summer Time”, as they do in Britain –it sounds so much nicer 🙂

    I also really like that we do it after Halloween now, because it makes it lighter for trick-or-treating, plus tired kids get an extra hour to sleep soon after.

  4. LifeTrek October 27, 2009 3:43 AM

    Hey, here is a link to a site with this same article, with only a little more on train schedules and Willett and it includes some links to some references like the Ben Franklin paper and the 1966 law as well as why we use it.

    http://www.energy.ca.gov/daylightsaving.html

    Aaron, it would be great if you could include a link in the posts so we can check out more if we want.
    Thanks.

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