Daylight saving time: Blame Ben Franklin or study of insects?
by Don McKee
March 09, 2014 10:39 PM | 1683 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
Here we are again in daylight saving time, which puts internal clocks out of whack. It makes you get up earlier, go to work earlier, get off from work earlier and possibly go to bed earlier. For what?

This annual messing with the time has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin who invented some remarkable things, including bifocals.

Maybe it had something to do with “early to bed, early to rise,” or he ran out of invention ideas.

In 1784, while in Paris, which probably had something to do with it, he penned an essay, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” touting less candle usage by getting up earlier to use sunlight, versus getting home after dark and burning more candles.

Another suspect is George Vernon Hudson, who supposedly proposed daylight saving time in 1895.

Obviously, Hudson was well qualified in such matters since he was an entomologist from New Zealand. Presumably, the study of insects led him to discover they got up very early during the winter because he proposed a two-hour leap forward in October and the fall backward in March, according to Thankfully, his idea was ignored.

Incidentally, gives this definition of what happens: “Daylight saving time is a change in the standard time with the purpose of getting better use of the daylight by having the sun rise one hour later in the morning and set one hour later in the evening.” And all this time I thought it was setting the clocks forward an hour, not having the sun rise an hour later.

DST actually was started by Germany during World War I to save fuel for its army. Britain, America and other countries fighting the Germans made the same change for the same reason.

When the war ended, so did daylight saving time. But soon after the United States entered World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created what was dubbed “War Time,” running from Feb. 9, 1942, to Sept. 30, 1945. So the names of the time zones were “Eastern War Time,” “Central War Time,” and “Pacific War Time.” After the war they were renamed “Peace Time” zones.

But there was no uniformity among states and localities, resulting in different times of observance or none at all, which has played havoc with travel and broadcasting schedules.

So Congress passed a law that DST would start on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. This was changed several times, the last in 2005, our current DST.

Purported advantages range from reducing traffic accidents to improved family recreation time. A 2004 study by a Japanese group asserted that DST could save about 246 million gallons of fossil fuel in the short term and reduce bag theft by 10 percent. But the California Energy Commission in 2007 reported its analysis showed DST had little or no effect on that state’s consumption of energy.

By my clock, time is up for Daylight Saving Time.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
bob jhon
March 10, 2014
I must say, I'm a fan. More daylight after work to have fun outdoors.
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