A few months ago our team was talking about daylight savings time and each one of us shared how we feel about it and how it affects our lives. Everyone was also curious how it came to be and we all had different theories. With that being said, the research on daylight savings time came to be! And this is what we found.
Every year, we experience the strange and somewhat confusing ritual of daylight savings time (DST). At 2:00 am on the second Sunday in March, we “spring forward” and move our clocks ahead by one hour. Then, at 2:00 am on the first Sunday in November, we “fall back” and move our clocks back one hour. This practice is observed by many countries around the world and this year daylight savings time will be on March 12.
The idea of daylight savings time can be traced back to the late 18th century when Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, proposed the idea as a way to conserve candles. He suggested that people should wake up earlier in the morning to take advantage of natural daylight and reduce the need for artificial lighting in the evening.
However, it was not until the late 19th century that the concept of DST was first proposed on a more formal basis. In 1895, George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society, in which he suggested a two-hour shift in time in the summer months so that he could have more time to collect insects.
A few years later, William Willett, a British builder, independently proposed the idea of DST in a pamphlet he published in 1907 titled “The Waste of Daylight”. Willett suggested that the clocks should be moved forward by 80 minutes in April and then moved back by the same amount in September, thus creating an additional hour of daylight in the evenings.
Willett spent the rest of his life lobbying for DST, but his efforts were initially met with resistance from the British government and the general public. However, during World War I, the need to conserve fuel and resources led several countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom, to adopt DST.
In the United States, DST was first implemented during World War I as a way to conserve energy. However, it was not standardized until 1966 when the Uniform Time Act was passed by Congress. Today, DST is observed in most states in the US, with the exception of Hawaii and most of Arizona.
To this day, the purpose of daylight saving time is still the same— to make better use of daylight. The benefits of this system include reduced electricity consumption, less traffic in the afternoons, and an extended amount of daylight for outdoor activities. And while DST has been controversial over the years, with some people arguing that it disrupts sleep patterns and causes accidents, it remains a widely practiced tradition in many countries around the world. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that DST has an interesting and somewhat surprising history.
Did I miss anything? Do you have any other interesting ideas about how daylight savings time became a thing? Tell us your thoughts!