Daylight Savings Time has sometimes been credited to Ben Franklin due to a joking reference he made in 1784. Others believe it started with London builder, William Willett (1857-1915), and his pamphlet ‘Waste of Daylight’ in 1907.
Mr. Willett’s thought was to set clocks ahead twenty minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and then setting the back twenty minutes per Sunday during the month of September. Had Mr. Willett had his way, many of us would be living with eighty extra minutes of daylight hours each summer instead of sixty.
George Vernon Hudson (1867-1946) was another supporter of longer days, but his plan was to set the clocks ahead two hours every summer. Why? Because he was a specialist in insect biology…and early sunsets interfered with his evening bug-collecting efforts.
Though suggested many years earlier, DST seems to be a direct result of World War 1, with Germany leading the pack on May 1, 1916. Europe eventually followed suit, with the United States finally jumping on it in 1918. Longer daylight hours was said to have saved fuel by reducing the need for artificial lighting each evening.
I don’t know about anyone else, but after giving the matter far more thought than it deserves, I still don’t get the logic there. Unless there were bans on ‘artificial lighting’ during early morning hours how, exactly, was any fuel saved?
An unpopular law, Congress voted DST out after WW1, allowing states to decide whether to keep it or not. Consequently we have parts of the USA who observe it, and other places that do not – sometimes within the same state. When you factor in time zones, too, it can get just a little confusing!
Studies on the advantages – and disadvantages of DST abound. There are fewer accidents and fatalities during the brighter evening hours…but there is an increase in morning accidents. There is a huge increase in the number of pedestrians hit by cars the Monday after DST begins. It saves fuel, it doesn’t save fuel. One group of people loves it, farmers hate it.
I tend to side with those who oppose Daylight Savings Time. For one thing, I just find it arrogant that governments feel like they can manipulate time. For another, I’ve always had trouble adjusting to the spring change. It’s one thing to ‘gain’ an hour in the fall, but ‘losing’ one…uh…doesn’t work so well for me.
But another question that plagues me is this… Since summer hours are longer anyway, wouldn’t it make more sense to change the time in the fall and winter? I mean really…the sun is long gone before six in the winter. Many people spend the few hours of daylight stuck in offices or factories, arriving and leaving in the dark.
So what is your opinion of DST? Do you think they save money on bills? Would you like to see the government stop trying to manipulate time?