As fast as time seems to go by these days, Daylight Savings Time hasn’t come fast enough to suit me. Whether you’re a fan of it or not, its with us again in just a few days. I, for one, am ecstatic; I love the extra daylight at the end of the day. When it ends in the fall I feel a definite sinking of my spirits which continues all winter long, only to be lifted when DST returns.
Daylight Savings Time is a change in the standard time with the purpose of making better use of daylight and conserving energy. I’m not sure that it actually conserves energy but I like it.
Clocks are set ahead 1 hour and it starts making sunrise and sunset 1 hour later on the clock. This process has been used for a hundred years.
Ancient civilizations engaged in a similar practice where they would adjust their daily schedule to the Sun’s schedule. The Roman water clocks even used different scales for different months of the year.
In 1784 Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay for the Journal of Paris on diminishing the cost of light, suggesting they could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light.
George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist, was a major contributor to the invention of DST when in 1895 he proposed
a 2 hour shift forward in October and a 2 hour shift back in March—the seasons are opposite in the earth’s two hemispheres. There was interest in his proposal, but obviously not enough because it never happened.
William Willet was a British builder who proposed something similar in 1905 and the first DST bill was actually introduced in The House of Commons but it had too much opposition and was never made into law.
Germany was the first country to implement DST in 1916 to minimize the use of artificial light to save fuel during World War 1; Britain and the US soon followed suit.
DST or “Fast Time” as it was called then, was introduced in 1918 when Woodrow Wilson signed it into law. Then in 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted it year round and it was called “War Time”. After the surrender of Japan it was relabeled “Peace Time”.
From 1945-1966 widespread confusion reigned because states could choose when and if, they would observe DST. Congress finally passed the ‘Uniform Time Act’ that stated when it would begin and end– from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
After the Oil Embargo in 1973, DST was instituted for a continuous period of 18 months. It was shown to have saved the energy equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil each day. After the energy crisis was over, DST was changed back to the original schedule of March to October.
DST is now used in over 70 countries worldwide. Currently we follow the 2005 Energy Policy Act where DST lasts a month longer, starting on the second Sunday of March and going to the first Sunday in November. Most of the US follows this schedule with the exception of Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.
I hail it’s return with happiness and wouldn’t mind it remaining in place year round though I know many people disagree, especially those with children who would have to go to school in the dark. However, since I lived in Alaska and went to and from school in the dark most of the school year, I don’t see this as a problem…it’s all in what one gets used to.
Whatever name it goes by, Fast Time, War Time, Peace Time, Daylight Savings Time, its one and the same and accomplishes the same thing; my spirit is lightened just knowing it’s near. The only difficulty I forsee is running the time forward on my Grandfather clock and that’s not a real difficulty just a small inconvenience, a worthwhile one I hasten to add. Anyway since we have no say in the matter we might as well enjoy it, I know I certainly will. What’s to be done with longer daylight hours you ask? Party on dude, party on!