I hate having to change all our clocks again — this time back to standard time — because of Daylight Saving Time (DST). What is the story behind DST and why do we do this?
It turns out over 70 countries observe DST. There is an American law, called the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (though not requiring DST) that requires those who observe DST to do so uniformly.
While serving as an American delegate in France, Benjamin Franklin first suggested the idea of Daylight Saving Time 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.
In 1907, an Englishman, William Willett, suggested it again. Recognizing that the nation could save energy, England put in place a form of DST during the first World War.
In 1918, the U.S. Congress also placed the country on Daylight Saving Time to conserve resources for the war effort. However, the law was unpopular and later repealed. Congress reinstated Daylight Saving Time during World War II.
If you really want to know more about the history of DST and why we use it, The California Energy Commission’s website has a detailed article by Bob Aldrich, Webmaster (retired).
The bottom line is that Daylight Saving Time is about saving energy consumption, and though very small for each household, it makes a difference in total.
And so yes….I’ll stop complaining now and change all our clocks knowing it is all about saving energy, and I will not complain when I do this again in the Spring, when we move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.
And if you want to know even more about Daylight Saving Time, here is a link to David Prerau’s book “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time.