March 7th, 2015

Spring Forward

by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne

In 1784, during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris, Benjamin Franklin wrote about his idea for daylight savings in an essay entitled, “An Economical Project.”

It wasn’t until World War I that Daylight Saving Time gained favor in the U.S. and Europe. On April 30, 1916, in an effort to conserve fuel, Germany and Austria began saving daylight by advancing the hands of their clocks one hour until the following October. The plan was not formally adopted in the U.S. until 1918.

After the War ended, the law proved so unpopular (mostly because people rose earlier and went to bed earlier than people do today) that it was repealed in 1919. Daylight Saving Time became a local option, and was continued in a few states, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in some cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, called “War Time,” from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945. After that, there was no federal law regarding Daylight Saving Time until 1966, so states and localities were free to choose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time and could choose when it began and ended.

By 1966, some 100 million Americans were observing Daylight Saving Time based on their local laws and customs. Congress decided to step in and end the confusion, and to establish one pattern across the country. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established Daylight Saving Time beginning on the last Sunday of April and ending on the last Sunday of October. Any State that wanted to be exempt from Daylight Saving Time could do so by passing a state law.

In 2007, The Energy Policy Act extended Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. from 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March until 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called “Summer Time” in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

In this Hi and Lois episode from 2008, Hi gets behind schedule resetting all the clocks in the house.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, March 9, 2008. Hi and Lois Sunday page, March 9, 2008.

Hopefully this will serve as a humorous hint to our readers to set all their clocks ahead this Sunday morning.

– Brian Walker

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