Where Does Daylight Saving Time Originate?

The idea of Daylight Saving Time (DST) goes back hundreds of years, when it was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin. In his essay entitled “An Economical Project,” Franklin discusses with amazement how “the inhabitants of London choosing voluntarily to live much by candlelight and sleep by sunshine.” He continues by discussing how much money everyone would save, or in his day “candles and tallow,” by merely changing the clocks to reflect the sunlight. Hundreds of years later, DST was instituted in this country by the Department of Transportation, as a way to cut costs and save energy. We may know DST or at least I do, by when we either lose an hour of sleep (spring ahead), or gain an hour of sleep (fall back). DST is defined as change in the standard time of each time zone. Time zones were first used by railroads, as they stretched across our country, in 1883. They (time zones) were used to standardize the travel schedules of the railroad, which was very important in the delivery of goods across the country. Sir Sandford Fleming of Canada is given credit for playing a key role in the development of a worldwide system of keeping time. He advocated for the adoption of a standard time. Fleming was instrumental in the making of an International Prime Meridian Conference in Washington in 1884, where the standard time we still use was instituted. The laws and rules of DST have been changed quite often through the years. Originally, states and territories could choose NOT to follow DST. In the United States, DST was used in WWI and WWII, but the rules were widely unpopular and rescinded. From approximately 1945 – 1966 there were no official laws governing Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, an official law was made called the Uniform Time Act of 1966, making DST from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday of October. DST changed again in 1986, from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday, by then President Ronald Reagan. In August 2005, then President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and changed DST to go from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. This law began in 2007 and is what we observe today, except Hawaii. Hawaii does not follow DST. There are so many more facts, figures and controversies surrounding Daylight Saving Time…too many to discuss here. People to this day may or may not agree with the purpose or reasons surrounding the use of Daylight Saving Time. What we can say, however, is on the second Sunday of March, set the DVR and go to bed an hour earlier…or you might miss that extra hour of sleep. Just think…you can make it up on the first Sunday in November!!! (Information from: http://www.energy.ca.gov/daylightsaving.html by Bob Aldrich, California Energy Commission)

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