I really had planned to do an entire post exploring the history of Daylight Savings Time. But that was the hour I lost. So instead I'm sharing this brief summary and sharing it very late in the day. While I wait for my coffee to brew.
Daylight Savings Time is the practice of setting clocks ahead during the summer months to allow more daylight in the evening, while sacrificing some daylight in the morning hours.
Did you know?
Ancient civilizations adjusted their daily schedules to the sunlight by dividing daylight into twelve equal 'hours'. Summer 'hours' were simply longer than winter 'hours'. Some Roman water clocks had separate scales for different months of the year.
The idea was jokingly proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784. He wrote an essay called "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light" to the editor of The Journal of Paris in which he suggested that Parisians could economize on candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning and making use of the natural morning light.
Modern Daylight Saving was proposed in 1895 by a New Zealand entomologist George Hudson, who wanted more daylight after hours to collect and catalog insects. English outdoorsman William Willett came up with a similar idea in 1905. He proposed moving clocks ahead during the summer, in hopes that he would not have to cut his evening golf game short at dusk.
The town of Orillia, Ontario had municipal daylight savings time from 1911 to 1912.
It was the Great War, or World War I, that led to widespread use of DST. The German Empire and Austria-Hungary started implementation on April 30, 1916, trying to conserve coal. Britain, most of its allies, and many neutral European countries soon did the same. Russia waited until the following year to get on board, and USA waited until 1918. After the war, DST was largely abandoned except in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and France. During WWII it was once again widely adopted in North America and Europe, and then once again in the 1970s as a result of the energy crisis.
Daylight Savings Time has been standard in most of the USA and Canada since 1966.
The actual effect on overall energy use is heavily disputed.
Some retailers and businesses, such as sporting goods, benefit because people have more daylight hours in the afternoon and evening to participate in sports. Farmers and parents of young children have generally been opposed to DST because of the disruption to schedules. Prime-time TV ratings, drive-ins, and theaters are often hurt by DST. And in business, there is an economic cost associated with rescheduling and adjusting computer applications.
I'll be honest - I'm not at all a fan of Daylight Savings Time. I don't think it's at all necessary any more in our digital society. In fact, I joked in the fall that if one of the Presidential candidates would promise to abolish Daylight Savings Time, they would win in a landslide. And yesterday I wondered why there has not been a march on Washington to end the insanity of Daylight Savings Time. I guess because whoever would have organized it lost an hour and didn't get it done.
What do you think about Daylight Savings? How long does it take your family to adjust? Leave a comment and let me know!
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