We returned to Standard Time Sunday morning, as Daylight Saving Time came to an end. Many enjoyed an extra hour of sleep. That is, of course, if you don’t have young children! And it’s a topic that many have strong opinions about: Should we even have Daylight Saving Time at all? What do you think? Answer the poll below:
But how did this biannual changing of the clocks begin, and is it still relevant in today’s modern world?
The origins of Daylight Saving Time
While many cite Benjamin Franklin as the “Father of Daylight Saving Time,” this is just a bit of an exaggeration from a joke that the founding father made during one of his trips to France. Franklin notoriously made fun of the French for their perceived laziness, as they would sleep in past sunrise. Franklin suggested, as a joke, that the French would save candles by changing their clocks so that people would get up out of bed earlier in the morning. This quirky quip didn’t actually result in the physical changing of clocks.
In reality, people have been suggesting seasonal changes to time-keeping for centuries. But it wasn’t until WWI, when conserving fuel was important, that countries made Daylight Saving Time official. In order to reduce the need for artificial light and thus saving fuel, Germany became the first country to turn the clocks ahead by one hour in 1916. European countries followed, with United States jumping on board in 1918.
The use of Daylight Saving Time in the United States was inconsistent after the Great War. This led to confusion, prompting the Uniform Time Act of 1966, requiring states that observe DST to begin at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in April. The law does NOT require every state to observe DST, and to this day Arizona and Hawaii observe Standard Time year-round.