February 29, 2024

The history of Daylight Saving Time

It’s that time a year again when we reset our clocks and our bodies. Twice a year we reset our clocks either an hour forward or an hour back. For a lot of us, making adjustments at the beginning of March and November takes about a week or two. 

Benjamin Franklin was the first person to introduce waking up earlier to save daylight in 1784. He suggested the idea to save candle light. No one liked the idea that we now call daylight saving time (DST). Can you blame them? We still do not.

In 1907, William Willet introduced daylight saving time publishing, “The Waste of Daylight.” Willet recognized that at some point when we were sleeping, the sun was shining. This troubled Willet, introducing daylight saving again. 

Isn’t it troubling that Willet was troubled, because the sun was shining?

His idea was on each of the four Sundays in April, the clock moves forward 20 minutes and the reverse would happen on the four Sundays in September. Requiring eight different time changes per year. 

Willet’s plan was rejected by many, mostly farmers, so the bill was not passed. Do we blame them?

Why would farmer’s care about DST? Because, the sun tells plants and animals when to work; not the farmer. Imagine telling a dairy cow that used to be milked at 5 a.m. that her milking time needs to move back an hour because the human population is saving daylight.

I’m sure our mothers understand. 

The United States didn’t start daylight saving time until after World War I; and it was not until after World War II that the decision to have DST was the states. And the horror began. Every mother raising small children realized pretty soon that daylight saving time was going to be a struggle. Having a child wake up an hour earlier on the clock can not be much of a pleasure. On top of that, putting children to bed an hour earlier.

My favorite quote, ‘When told the reason for daylight savings time, the old Indian said, “Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.” I’m sure our mothers would agree.

Since practicing DST, some countries ended the practice; including Argentina, Turkey and Russia. 

The European Parliament is in the process of getting rid of DST, making each of the European countries decide by 2021 whether or not to continue DST.

In the United States, Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation) is the only state that does not have DST. Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas are trying to go back to standard time.

What do you think of Daylight Saving Time?