I’m not an ardent fan of “daylight savings time”. Not that I have a choice in the matter, really. I suppose I could try to persuade my husband to pack up and move to Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or American Samoa — places that don’t change their clocks — but I doubt that I’d be too successful. This is our home. Our family is here. Our friends are here. Our lives are here.
So, I’m stuck with Daylight Savings Time.
It starts this weekend, officially at 2:00 AM on Sunday.
I blame it all on Benjamin Franklin. Although the man had a brilliant mind, in my opinion, he missed the mark with his idea — first suggested in 1784 — that we could “save daylight” by changing our clocks.
My feeling is that we have enough daylight during the spring and summer months. What we really need is an antidote to the dreadfully long days of winter. Why don’t we add more light to the days of December, January, and February instead of lengtening the already long days of June, July, and August?
Nobody listens to me.
Apparently nobody listened to Ben Franklin either, for I haven’t found any record of his plan being implemented during his lifetime. In fact, the idea seems to have been forgotten, and maybe it would have stayed forgotten had it not been for William Willett, an English fellow who penned a little pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight. He wrote:
Now, if some of the hours of wasted sunlight could be withdrawn from the beginning and added to the end of the day, how many advantages would be gained by all, and in particular by those who spend in the open air, when light permits them to do so, whatever time they have at their command after the duties of the day have been discharged.
Despite this encouragement from Willett, it was not the British but the Germans who first adopted a plan for saving daylight. It was put into practice as a fuel-saving measure during World War I. Britain went along the following year — 1916 — and in 1918, the United States joined in. At that time, Congress passed the “Standard Time Act”, which established the different US time zones.
Not everyone liked daylight savings time, especially dairy farmers. In 1920 the law was repealed due to opposition. Then, during World War II, Daylight Savings Time was again imposed as part of the “War Time Act”, once more as a means of saving fuel. It was implemented year-round.
At war’s end, the law was changed, and from 1945 to 1966 daylight savings time was optional. Cities or states could choose whether or not to adjust their clocks. The results could be chaotic in places. It’s said that bus drivers operating on the West Virginia Route 2 between Moundsville WV and Steubenville OH had to reset their watches seven times over the thirty-five mile route.
Finally, in 1966, the Uniform Standard Time Act was passed, although states could still pass laws to exempt themselves from compliance. Several states did, but only Alaska and Hawaii now remain exempt from the time changes.
The most recent change to Daylight Savings Time came in 2007 when DST was extended. Initially clocks were reset in April and October. Now, we spring forward in March, and fall back in November.
Of course, we sometimes forget.
It used to be quite a chore to go about changing all the clocks, computers, and other time-keeping devices in the house. Modern technology has made it fairly simple though. I have only to change the clock in my car — which I’ve already done — and my husband takes down the wall clock in the living room and changes it. Everything else — phones, DVR, computers, tablets — updates automatically.
All in all, I don’t like Daylight Savings Time, and you’ll probably hear me whining and complaining about it until November. Maybe you’re like me and hate losing that extra hour. Or maybe you’re just the opposite. Maybe you think Daylight Savings Time is the greatest idea in history.
Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for visiting today.