On Sunday, March 8, most Americans will push their clocks forward an hour, as daylight saving time (sometimes erroneously called daylight savings time) begins. In November, daylight saving time will end and we'll set the clocks back an hour. These spring and fall clock changes continue a long tradition started by Benjamin Franklin to conserve energy.
Here's a look at when daylight saving time starts and ends during the year, its history, why we have it now and some myths and interesting facts about the time change.
When does daylight saving time start and end?
Historically, daylight saving time (DST) has begun in the summer months and ended right before winter, though the dates have changed over time as the U.S. government has passed new statutes, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO).
Starting in 2007, DST begins in the United States on the second Sunday in March, when people move their clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. local standard time (so at 2 a.m.
on that day, the clocks will then read 3 a.m. local daylight time). Daylight saving time then ends on the first Sunday in November, when clocks are moved back an hour at 2 a.m.
local daylight time (so they will then read 1 a.m. local standard time).
In 2020, DST will begin on March 8 and will end on November 1, when you'll set the clock back an hour and the cycle will begin again.
How did daylight saving time start?
Benjamin Franklin takes the honor (or the blame, depending on your view of the time changes) for coming up with the idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy, according to David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time” (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005). By moving clocks forward, people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting. At the time, Franklin was ambassador to Paris and so wrote a witty letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784, rejoicing over his “discovery” that the sun provides light as soon as it rises.
Even so, DST didn't officially begin until more than a century later. Germany established DST in May 1916 as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came onboard shortly thereafter. And in 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time.
Though President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep daylight saving time after WWI ended, the country was mostly rural at the time and farmers objected, partly because it would mean they lost an hour of morning light.
(It's a myth that DST was instituted to help farmers.) And so daylight saving time was abolished until the next war brought it back into vogue. At the start of WWII, on Feb.
9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established daylight saving time year-round, calling it “War Time.”
Related: 5 crazy chapters in the history of daylight saving time
After the war, a free-for-all system in which U.S. states and towns were given the choice of whether or not to observe DST led to chaos. And in 1966, to tame such “Wild West” mayhem, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act.
That federal law meant that any state observing DST — and they didn't have to jump on the DST bandwagon — had to follow a uniform protocol throughout the state in which daylight saving time would begin on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October.
Then, in 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, expanding the length of daylight saving time to the present timing.
Why do we still have daylight saving time?
Fewer than 40% of the world's countries observe daylight saving time, according to timeanddate.com. However, those who do observe DST take advantage of the natural daylight in the summer evenings.
That's because the days start to get longer as Earth moves from the winter season to spring and summer, with the longest day of the year on the summer solstice.
During the summer season in each hemisphere, Earth, which revolves around its axis at an angle, is tilted directly toward the sun.
Related: Read more about the science of summer.
As Earth orbits the sun, it also spins around its own imaginary axis. Because it revolves around this axis at an angle, different parts of our planet experience the sun's direct rays at different times of the year, leading to the seasons. (Image credit: BlueRingMedia / Shutterstock.com)
Regions farthest away from the equator and closer to the poles get the most benefit from the DST clock change, because there is a more dramatic change in sunlight throughout the seasons.
Research has also suggested that with more daylight in the evenings, there are fewer traffic accidents, as there are fewer cars on the road when it's dark outside. More daylight also could mean more outdoor exercise (or exercise at all) for full-time workers.
The nominal reason for daylight saving time has long been to save energy. The time change was first instituted in the United States during World War I, and then reinstituted again during World War II, as a part of the war effort.
During the Arab oil embargo, when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stopped selling petroleum to the United States, Congress even enacted a trial period of year-round daylight saving time in an attempt to save energy.
But the evidence for energy savings is slim. Brighter evenings may save on electric lighting, said Stanton Hadley, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who helped prepare a report to Congress on extended daylight saving time in 2007.
But lights have become increasingly efficient, Hadley said, so lighting is responsible for a smaller chunk of total energy consumption than it was a few decades ago.
Heating and cooling probably matter more, and some places may need air-conditioning for the longer, hotter evenings of summer daylight saving time.
Hadley and his colleagues found that the four weeks of extra daylight saving time that went into effect in the United States in 2007 did save some energy, about half of a percent of what would have otherwise been used on each of those days. However, Hadley said, the effect of the entire months-long stretch of daylight saving could very well have the opposite effect.
A 1998 study in Indiana before and after implementation of daylight saving time in some counties found a small increase in residential energy usage. Temporary changes in Australia's daylight saving timing for the summer Olympics of 2000 also failed to save any energy, a 2007 study found.
Part of the trouble with estimating the effect of daylight saving time on energy consumption is that there are so few changes to the policy, making before-and-after comparisons tricky, Hadley told Live Science. The 2007 extension of daylight saving time allowed for a before-and-after comparison of only a few weeks' time. The changes in Indiana and Australia were geographically limited.
Ultimately, Hadley said, the energy question probably isn't the real reason the United States sticks with daylight saving time, anyway.
“In the vast scheme of things, the energy saving is not the big driver,” he said. “It's people wanting to take advantage of that light time in the evening.”
Who observes daylight saving time? (And who doesn't?)
Most of the United States and Canada observe DST on the same dates with a few exceptions. Hawaii and Arizona are the two U.S. states that don't observe daylight saving time, though Navajo Nation, in northeastern Arizona, does follow DST, according to NASA.
And, every year there are bills put forth to get rid of DST in various states, as not everyone is keen on turning their clocks forward an hour. In 2018, Florida's Senate and House passed legislation called the Sunshine Protection Act (a PDF of the legislation) that would ask the U.S.
Congress to exempt the state from the federal 1966 Uniform Time Act. If approved, Florida would remain in DST year-round. In order to allow Florida's year-round DST, however, the U.S. Congress would have to amend the Uniform Time Act (15 U.S.C. s.
260a) to authorize states this allowance, according to The New York Times.
In the fall of 2018, California voted in favor of Proposition 7 that would attempt to repeal the annual clock changes. Next, the state legislature needs to vote on the proposition, followed by the Congress, according to an article on Vox.
Other states have also proposed exemptions from the federal time act. For instance, Sen. Ryan Osmundson, R-Buffalo, introduced Senate Bill 206 into the Senate State Administration Committee in February 2017, which would exempt Montana from daylight saving time, keeping the state on standard time year-round, according to the bill.
Three bills put forth in 2017 in Texas aimed to abolish DST for good: House Bill 2400, Senate Bill 238 and House Bill 95, according to the broadcast company kxan. Nebraskans may be off the hook for clock changes as well. In January 2017, state Sen.
Lydia Brasch, a Republican of Bancroft, proposed a bill called LB309 to eliminate daylight saving time in the state, according to the bill.
Some regions of British Columbia and Saskatchewan don't change their clocks. These include the following areas in British Columbia: Charlie Lake, Creston (East Kootenays), Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Taylor; in Saskatchewan, only Creighton and Denare Beach observe DST, according to NASA.
Most of Europe currently observes daylight saving time, called “summer time,” which begins at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends (winter time) at 1 a.m.
GMT on the last Sunday in October. However, even the European Union may propose an end to clock changes, as a recent poll found that 84% of 4.
6 million people surveyed said they wanted to nix them, the Wall Street Journal reported.
If the lawmakers and member states agree, the EU members could decide to keep the EU in summer time or winter time, according to the WSJ.
The United Kingdom will move their clocks forward on March 29, 2020, and will move them back again to standard time on Oct. 25, according to the U.K. government.
The DST-observing countries in the Southern Hemisphere — in Australia, New Zealand, South America and southern Africa — set their clocks an hour forward sometime during September through November and move them back to standard time during the March-April timeframe.
Australia, being such a big country (the sixth-largest in the world), doesn't follow DST uniformly: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory follow daylight saving, while Queensland, the Northern Territory (Western Australia) do not, according to the Australian government. Clocks in the observing areas spring forward an hour at 2 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in October and push back an hour at 3 a.m. local daylight time on the first Sunday in April.
Russia instituted year-round daylight saving time in 2011, or permanent “summer time,” which seemed dandy at first. But in the depths of winter, sunrise occurred at 10 a.m. in Moscow and 11 a.m. in St.
Petersburg, said David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time” (Basic Books, 2009). This meant Russians had to start their days in the cold, pitch-dark.
The permanent summer is coming to an end, however, as now Russian president Vladimir Putin abolished DST in 2014, according to BBC News. As such, the country will remain in “winter time” forever, or until another law is passed.
Myths and interesting facts
- Turns out, people tend to have more heart attacks on the Monday following the “spring forward” switch to daylight saving time. Researchers reporting in 2014 in the journal Open Heart, found that heart attacks increased 24% on that Monday, compared with the daily average number for the weeks surrounding the start of DST.
- Before the Uniform Time Act was passed in the United States, there was a period in which anyplace could or could not observe DST, leading to chaos. For instance, if one took a 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, West Virginia, to Steubenville, Ohio, he or she would pass through no fewer than seven time changes, according to Prerau. At some point, Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks.
- A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Psychology showed that during the week following the “spring forward” into DST, mine workers got 40 minutes less sleep and had 5.7% more workplace injuries than they did during any other days of the year.
- Pets notice the time change, as well. Since humans set the routines for their fluffy loved ones, dogs and cats living indoors and even cows are disrupted when, say, you bring their food an hour late or come to milk them later than usual, according to Alison Holdhus-Small, a research assistant at CSIRO Livestock Industries, an Australia-based research and development organization.
- The fact that the time changes at 2 a.m. at least in the U.S., may have to do with practicality. For instance, it's late enough that most people are home from outings and setting the clock back an hour won't switch the date to “yesterday.” In addition, it's early enough not to affect early shift workers and early churchgoers, according to the WebExhibits, an online museum.
This article was updated on March 5, 2020 by Live Science Reference Editor Kimberly Hickok.
Does Daylight Saving Time Conserve Energy?
Starting this month, roughly one quarter of the world’s population will lose sleep and gain sunlight as they set their clocks ahead for daylight saving.
People may think that with the time shift, they are conserving electricity otherwise spent on lighting.
But recent studies have cast doubt on the energy argument—some research has even found that it ultimately leads to greater power use.
Benjamin Franklin is credited with conceiving the idea of daylight saving in 1784 to conserve candles, but the U.S. did not institute it until World War I as a way to preserve resources for the war effort.
The first comprehensive study of its effectiveness occurred during the oil crisis of the 1970s, when the U.S.
Department of Transportation found that daylight saving trimmed national electricity usage by roughly 1 percent compared with standard time.
Scant research had been done since, during which time U.S.
electricity usage patterns have changed as air conditioning and household electronics have become more pervasive, observes economist Matthew Kotchen of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
But lately, changes to daylight saving policies on state and federal levels have presented investigators new chances to explore the before-and-after impacts of the clock shift.
In 2006 Indiana instituted daylight saving statewide for the first time. (Before then, daylight time confusingly was in effect in just a handful of Indiana’s counties.
) Examining electricity usage and billing since the statewide change, Kotchen and his colleague Laura Grant unexpectedly found that daylight time led to a 1 percent overall rise in residential electricity use, costing the state an extra $9 million.
Although daylight time reduces demand for household lighting, the researchers suggest that it increased demand for cooling on summer evenings and heating in early spring and late fall mornings. They hope to publish their conclusions this year in the Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Investigators got another opportunity in 2007, when daylight time nationwide began three weeks earlier, on the second Sunday in March, and ended one week later in the fall.
California Energy Commission resource economist Adrienne Kandel and her colleagues discovered that extending daylight time had little to no effect on energy use in the state. The observed drop in energy use of 0.
2 percent fell within the statistical margin of error of 1.5 percent.
Not all recent analyses suggest that daylight saving is counterproductive. Instead of studying the impact daylight saving changes had on just one state, senior analyst Jeff Dowd and his colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy investigated what effect it might have on national energy consumption, looking at 67 electric utilities across the country.
In their October 2008 report to Congress, they conclude that the four-week extension of daylight time saved about 0.5 percent of the nation’s electricity per day, or 1.3 trillion watt-hours in total. That amount could power 100,000 households for a year. The study did not just look at residential electricity use but commercial use as well, Dowd says.
The disparities between regional and national results could reflect climate differences between states. “The effect we saw could be even worse in Florida, where air conditioning is used heavily,” Kotchen suggests.
If time shifting turns out to be an energy waster, should the sun set on daylight saving? Certainly that would please farmers, who have long opposed it for how it disrupts their schedules. The chances, though, appear nil.
“I’m skeptical we could change daylight saving time on a national level, because we’ve become accustomed to it,” Kotchen says, adding that “we might want to consider it for other costs or benefits it could have.” Retailers, especially those involved with sports and recreation, have historically argued hardest for extending daylight time.
Representatives of the golf industry, for instance, told Congress in 1986 that an extra month of daylight saving was worth up to $400 million annually in extra sales and fees.
So instead of worrying about cranking up the air conditioner at home, think about what more you can do outdoors when the sun is out. Softball, anyone?
Moving the Hands Is Bad for the Heart Springing forward may both end and save lives.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and their colleagues looked at myocardial infarction rates in Sweden since 1987 and found that the number of heart attacks rose about 5 percent during the first week of daylight saving time (called summer time in Europe). In the October 30, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine, they suggest that this rise may result from the disruption of sleep patterns and biological rhythms.
On the other hand, the clock shift could help prevent traffic accidents by enabling more people to drive home in sunlight. By analyzing 28 years of U.S.
automobile crash data, RAND Corporation economists and their colleagues suggest that a 1986 change in federal daylight saving time law—which moved the start of daylight time from the last Sunday in April to the first—produced an 8 to 11 percent drop in crashes involving pedestrians and a 6 to 10 percent dip in crashes for vehicular occupants. They reported the findings in a 2007 B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy study.
Editor's Note: This story was originally printed with the title “Spring Forward or Not?”
daylight saving time – Russian translation – Linguee
|(Внимание: в г. Форт-Сент-Джон и […] его окрестностях перевод на летнее время не проводится). welcomebc.ca|
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|The internal clock can switch […] automatically between normal anddaylight saving time(DST). resource.boschsecurity.com resource.boschsecurity.com||Внутренние часы могут автоматически […] переключаться между зимним илетним временем (DST). resource.boschsecurity.com resource.boschsecurity.com|
|Ifdaylight saving timeis in effect in the selected […] city, rotate the ring to, or read the hour of, the city in the time […] zone which is advanced one hour. seiko.dk||Если летнее время действует в выбранном городе, то […] поверните кольцо или посмотрите время в городе, находящемся во временной […] зоне на один час вперед. seiko.ie|
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|For example, ifdaylight saving timeis in effect […] in Paris, it is in the time zone of Cairo to which the arrow mark points. seiko.dk||Например, летнее время действует в Париже, оно соответствует […] часовому поясу Каира, на который указывает стрелка. seiko.ie|
|Note: Some countries (for instance, United […] Kingdom) switch todaylight saving timeat 2:00 on the […] last Sunday of March switching the time 1 hour ahead. fantasy.smile-net.ru||Примечание: В некоторых странах (например, в […] России) существует переход на летнее время, который […] происходит в последнее воскресенье […] марта в 2:00 переводом часовых стрелок на 1 час вперед. fantasy.smile-net.ru|
|Poland belongs to the Central European time zone, GMT + 1 hour, except for between […] March and October when it switches todaylight saving time. paiz.gov.pl||Польша принадлежит к зоне среднеевропейского часового пояса, GMT + 1 час, за исключением периода года […] между мартом и октябрем, когда страна переходит на летнее время. paiz.gov.pl|
|The time differences and use ofdaylight saving timein each city are subject to change […] according to the governments of […] the respective countries or regions. seiko.dk||Разница во времени и использование летнего времени в каждом городе изменяется согласно […] указаниям правительств соответствующих […] стран или регионов. seiko.ie|
|I have already talked aboutDaylight Saving Time:when Mr Medvedev made the decision […] to change to a new system he relied […] on the opinion expressed by a considerable part of our population who said that changing the clocks in the winter and spring had a negative impact on their health and adversely affected some sectors of agriculture. fr.ambruslu.com||По поводу времени, я уже говорил на этот счёт: когда Дмитрий Анатольевич принимал […] решение о переходе на новую систему времяисчисления, […] он исходил из настроя значительной части наших граждан, которые говорили о том, что перевод стрелок часов в зимнее и соответственно весеннее время плохо сказывается на здоровье, влияет негативно на некоторые отрасли сельского хозяйства. ambruslu.com|
|It also gives you the chance to correct the time after synchronization if your PNA does not […] support time zones ordaylight saving time. marketing.prestigio.com||Они также позволяют исправить время после синхронизации, если PNA не […] поддерживает часовые пояса или летнеевремя. marketing.prestigio.com|
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|It should be remembered that on 30 October, at […] the night from Saturday to Sunday the clocks in Latvia must be turned […] one hour back to the winterdaylight saving time. riga-airport.com||Напоминаем, что 30 октября в […] ночь с субботы на воскресенье […] в Латвии происходит переход на зимнее время, и стрелки […] часов нужно перевести на один час назад. riga-airport.com|
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|With your permission, Sir, and in […] the interest ofsaving time,I s|
Transition to DST
When Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins, we lose an hour. When it ends, we gain an hour. So how exactly does the DST switch work?
DST robs us of 1 hour of sleep in the spring.
When DST starts in the spring, our clocks are set forward by a certain amount of time, usually by 1 hour. This means that 1 hour is skipped, and on the clock, the day of the DST transition has only 23 hours.
Since DST switches usually occur at night to avoid disrupting public life, they snatch away an hour of our usual sleeping time, forcing us to adjust our body clocks. If you set your alarm to the same time as before the clock change, you will sleep an hour less. The good news is that if you work a night shift, you will get away with working 1 hour less that day.
Upcoming DST switches in your city
Example of DST Start
The DST period in the United States begins at 02:00 (2 am) local time, so the hour from 2:00:00 to 2:59:59 does not exist in the night of the switch. It is skipped as clocks spring forward from 1:59:59 standard time to 3:00:00 Daylight Saving Time (see table).
|3:00:00||DST||DST starts,clocks jump ahead by 1 hour|
Note: the DST period may begin and end at different local times in other countries, but the principle is the same.
Repeat an Hour in Fall
In the fall (autumn), the DST period usually ends and our clocks are set back to standard time again. In terms of civil time, we gain 1 hour, so the day of the transition is 25 hours long.
In effect, 1 hour is repeated as local time jumps from DST back to standard time. Let's say that clocks fall back from 2 to 1 o'clock. This means that the hour between 1 and 2 o'clock happens twice during the night of the switch.
Daylight saving time has begun. Most people just want to stop changing their clocks
One of America’s most contentious hours officially doesn’t exist.
On the issue of daylight saving time, which began officially at 2 a.m. Sunday — or was that 3 a.m.? — America is a nation divided. Either way, the citizenry loses a precious weekend hour; in exchange, millions more folks get to eat their dinners before dark.
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, lawmakers in 32 states are considering bills that would change the current system of splitting the year into about eight months of daylight time and the rest, standard.
“It’s been a hot issue,” said Jim Reed, an NCSL official. And it’s getting hotter, he added. Every year more state lawmakers are considering changing the system. The preponderance are pushing for year-round daylight time, although Congress has forbidden states from doing so.
Pennsylvania has four different proposed time-change bills, and three of those essentially endorse year-round daylight time.
Yet, if the issue were put to a national primary, all-standard, all-the-time would win decisively, according to a poll conducted last year. More than 70% of those surveyed said, Please, stop with the changes, period.
Daylight Saving Time 2020: When Does the Time Change?
Daylight Saving Time starts on the 2nd Sunday in March—that’s Sunday, March 8, 2020! See details about the history of “saving daylight” and why we still observe DST today.
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of moving the clocks forward one hour from Standard Time during the summer months, and changing them back again in the fall. The general idea is that this allows us all to make better use of natural daylight. However, DST has many detractors—and rightfully so.
When Is Daylight Saving Time in 2020? When Does the Time Change?
To remember which way to set their clocks, folks often use the expression, “Spring forward, fall back.”
- Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 2:00 A.M. On Saturday night, set your clocks forward one hour (i.e., losing one hour) to “spring ahead.”
- Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 1, 2020, at 2:00 A.M. On Saturday night, set your clocks back one hour (i.e., gaining one hour) to “fall back.”
Note: Since the time changes at 2:00 A.M., we generally change our clocks before bed on Saturday.
Daylight Saving Time Dates
(In the U.S., the exceptions to DST are Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.)
|Year||Daylight Saving Time Begins||Daylight Saving Time Ends|
|2020||Sunday, March 8 at 2:00 A.M.||Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 A.M.|
|2021||Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 A.M.||Sunday, November 7 at 2:00 A.M.|
|2022||Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 A.M.||Sunday, November 6 at 2:00 A.M.|
|2023||Sunday, March 12 at 2:00 A.M.||Sunday, November 5 at 2:00 A.M.|
Is it Daylight “Saving” or “Savings” Time?
The correct term is “Daylight Saving Time“ and not “Daylight Savings Time” (with an extra “s”), though many of us are guilty of saying it the wrong way. The technical explanation is that the word “saving” is singular because it acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb.
The History of Daylight Saving Time
Why Did Daylight Saving Time Start?
Blame Ben? Benjamin Franklin’s “An Economical Project,” written in 1784, is the earliest known proposal to “save” daylight. It was whimsical in tone, advocating laws to compel citizens to rise at the crack of dawn to save the expense of candlelight:
“Every morning, as soon as the Sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing: and if that is not sufficient, let cannon be fired in every street to wake the sluggards effectually… . Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is probable that he will go willingly to bed at eight in the evening.”
DST’s True Founder?
The first true proponent of Daylight Saving Time was an Englishman named William Willet. A London builder, he conceived the idea while riding his horse early one morning in 1907.
He noticed that the shutters of houses were tightly closed even though the Sun had risen. In “The Waste of Daylight,” the manifesto of his personal light-saving campaign, Willet wrote, “Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings.
Everyone laments their shrinkage as the days grow shorter; and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the nearly clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used… .
That so many as 210 hours of daylight are, to all intents and purposes, wasted every year is a defect in our civilization. Let England recognise and remedy it.”
Willet spent a small fortune lobbying businessmen, members of Parliament, and the U.S. Congress to put clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and reverse the process on consecutive Sundays in September. But his proposal was met mostly with ridicule. One community opposed it on moral grounds, calling the practice the sin of “lying” about true time.
World War I Led to Adoption of DST
Attitudes changed after World War I broke out. The government and citizenry recognized the need to conserve coal used for heating homes.
The Germans were the first to officially adopt the light-extending system in 1915, as a fuel-saving measure during World War I.
This led to the introduction in 1916 of British Summer Time: From May 21 to October 1, clocks in Britain were put an hour ahead.
The United States followed in 1918, when Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which established the time zones. However, this was amidst great public opposition. A U.S. government Congressional Committee was formed to investigate the benefits of Daylight Saving Time.
Many Americans viewed the practice as an absurd attempt to make late sleepers get up early. Others thought that it was unnatural to follow “clock time” instead of “Sun time.
” A columnist in the Saturday Evening Post offered this alternative: “Why not ‘save summer’ by having June begin at the end of February?”
The matter took on new meaning in April 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson declared war. Suddenly, energy conservation was of paramount importance, and several efforts were launched to enlist public support for changing the clocks.
A group called the National Daylight Saving Convention distributed postcards showing Uncle Sam holding a garden hoe and rifle, turning back the hands of a huge pocket watch.
Voters were asked to sign and mail to their congressman postcards that declared, “If I have more daylight, I can work longer for my country. We need every hour of light.
” Manhattan’s borough president testified to Congress that the extra hour of light would be a boon to home gardening, and therefore increase the Allies’ food supply. Posters chided, “Uncle Sam, your enemies have been up and are at work in the extra hour of daylight—when will YOU wake up?”
With public opinion in its favor, Congress officially declared that all clocks would be moved ahead one hour at 2:00 A.M. on March 31, 1918. (Canada adopted a similar policy later the same year.) Americans were encouraged to turn off their lights and go to bed earlier than they normally did—at around 8:00 P.M.
Farmers Did NOT Favor DST
Many Americans wrongly point to farmers as the driving force behind Daylight Saving Time. In fact, farmers were its strongest opponents and, as a group, stubbornly resisted the change from the beginning.
When the war was over, the farmers and working-class people who had held their tongues began to speak out. They demanded an end to Daylight Saving Time, claiming that it benefited only office workers and the leisure class.
The controversy put a spotlight on the growing gap between rural and urban dwellers.
As a writer for the Literary Digest put it, “The farmer objects to doing his early chores in the dark merely so that his city brother, who is sound asleep at the time, may enjoy a daylight motor ride at eight in the evening.”
The Daylight Saving Time experiment lasted only until 1920, when the law was repealed due to opposition from dairy farmers (cows don’t pay attention to clocks). No fewer than 28 bills to repeal Daylight Saving Time had been introduced to Congress, and the law was removed from the books. American had tolerated Daylight Saving Time for about seven months.
The subject did not come up again until after the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, and the United States was once again at war.
During World War II, Daylight Saving Time was imposed once again (this time year-round) to save fuel. Clocks were set one hour ahead to save energy.
After the war (which concluded with Japan’s final surrender on September 2, 1945), Daylight Saving Time started being used on and off in different states, beginning and ending on days of their choosing.
Local Differences and Inconsistency
Inconsistent adherence to time zones among the states created considerable confusion with interstate bus and train service. To remedy the situation, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, establishing consistent use of Daylight Saving Time within the United States: Clocks were to be set ahead one hour on the last Sunday in April and one hour back on the last Sunday in October.
That was the rule, but some state legislatures took exception via a loophole that had been built into the law. Residents of Hawaii and most of Arizona did not change their clocks. Residents of Indiana, which straddles the Eastern and Central time zones, were sharply divided on Daylight Saving Time: Some counties employed it, some did not.
In 1986, the U.S. Congress approved a bill to increase the period of Daylight Saving Time, moving the start to the first Sunday in April. The goal was to conserve oil used for generating electricity—an estimated 300,000 barrels annually. (In 2005, the entire state of Indiana became the 48th state to observe Daylight Saving Time.)
Daylight Saving Time Today
The current daylight saving period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007.
Today, most Americans spring forward (turn clocks ahead and lose an hour) on the second Sunday in March (at 2:00 A.M.) and fall back (turn clocks back and gain an hour) on the first Sunday in November (at 2:00 A.M.). See how your sunrise and sunset times will change with our Sunrise/set Calculator.
However, farmers’ organizations continue to lobby Congress against the practice, preferring early daylight to tend to their fields and a Standard Time sunset for ending their work at a reasonable hour.
Some farmers point out that the Daylight Saving Time is deceptively misnamed.
“It is a gimmick that changes the relationship between ‘Sun’ time and ‘clock’ time but saves neither time nor daylight,” says Katherine Dutro, spokesperson for the Indiana Farm Bureau.