Learn Why Daylight Saving Time Exists, And Spring Ahead This Weekend

Turn your watches and clocks ahead by one hour at 2:00 this Sunday morning for the start of Daylight Saving Time. (Photo: R. Naas)

Turn your watches and clocks ahead by one hour at 2:00 this Sunday morning for the start of Daylight Saving Time. 

This weekend, at 2:00 in the morning on Sunday March 11, we set our clocks ahead by one hour for the start of Daylight Saving Time. The Spring-Ahead concept, originally designed to save energy, means we lose an hour of sleep.

The notion of Daylight Saving Time has roots dating back to the 18th century, when Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay (1784) called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” He suggested that people should get out of bed earlier in the morning in spring and summer months to use the light instead of candles. No one knows for sure if anyone listed to Ben, but no formal action was put in place to bring the concept to reality. More than 120 years later, in 1895, an entomologist also wrote a report that he presented to the Wellington Philosophical Society in New Zealand that suggested a two-hour change of time in certain months. He wanted more daylight time for his bug collecting and thought the idea of getting more light in a day by changing the clocks would work. Again, the concept was not embraced.

Why we spring ahead for Daylight Saving Time.

Why we spring ahead for Daylight Saving Time.

In 1905 when a British builder, William Willett, suggesting setting clocks ahead in April and switching them back in September to take advantage of daylight for his profession and many others. Three years later, a politician by the name of Robert Pearce introduced a bill to the House of Commons, but it did not pass. However, the concept was taking root around the world. Germany was the first country to pass a Daylight Saving Time rule in 1916, with other countries implementing the same concept in the ensuring years.

Here in America, starting just after World War II, the government suggested Daylight Saving Time, but left the implementation of it to the individual sates, which could select if they wanted to impose it and on which dates. This caused massive confusion about what time it was in different states, so that in 1966 Congress established the Uniform Time Act – setting the protocol for exact dates and times to start and stop Daylight Saving Time. As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the length of Daylight Saving Time in America was extended by four weeks, starting in 2007. Still, some U.S. states/territories don’t participate, and argue the usefulness of it.

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