Daylight saving (not savings) begins March 11 at 2am. Many of us attribute this as a time where we either gain or lose an hour of sleep. In this case we will spring forward for an extra hour. But, why do we have daylight saving and where did it begin? Here is a history lesson and some facts from History.com you may have not known about daylight saving time:
- Benjamin Franklin is often associated with inventing daylight saving time, however, that is not the case. Disturbed from sleep at 6am, Benjamin Franklin wrote a satirical essay where he calculated that waking up at dawn could save the modern day equivalent of 2 million dollars by having people use sunshine instead of candles. Only sleep schedules were recommended not the actual times.
- Englishman William Willet led the first campaign in support of daylight saving. He felt that the clocks should be moved forward 80 minutes between April and October to allow people to enjoy the sunlight. Parliament was against this change and Willet died in 1915 without seeing his idea adopted by his peers.
- Germany was in fact the first country to adopt daylight saving on April 30, 1916 to conserve electricity during WWI. Weeks later, the United Kingdom adopted Willet’s idea and created “summer time.”
- Contrary to popular belief, the agriculture industry was against day light saving when it was first implemented March 31, 1918. Why? Farmer’s schedules were dictated by the sun so this change in time was very disruptive to their schedules. The retail industry and recreational businesses have been supporters of daylight saving.
- The repeal for daylight saving was passed in 1919. Afterwards, some states and cities such as NYC and Chicago continued to move their clocks. The practice would return and then be repealed again. To date, Hawaii and Arizona do not participate in daylight saving as well as some Amish communities.
- A Department of Transportation study in 1970 revealed that total electricity savings amounted to about 1% in the spring and 1% in the fall. As additional appliances were introduced in households, it was decided that any savings in electricity are offset by other cooling expenses such as air conditioning.