Daylight Savings Time

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?

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13 Responses to Daylight Savings Time

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  2. Your son is lucky, Louise. I wish Michigan didn’t do DST. I’m sure it messes up the body’s production of melatonin, which affects the quality of our sleep. It also contributes to a more sleep deprived society. Hard to be asleep by ten when it’s still light outside. Of course if they’d change it to winter, I might not mind so much. It’s also hard when it’s dark at 5:30 in the afternoon. But DST makes that worse, too. We get used to it being light so late from late March to early November that it’s hard to adjust when it changes back.

    But I just want ONE time schedule…all year, year after year.

  3. interesting comments and article, Kristy. I have never given it much thought, except that as the years slide by, it takes me longer to feel rested from the change both ways. In Calgary, we can have summer daylight until 10 or 11 at night in the summer, which makes it lovely to sit outside for a full evening after work but it’s not perfect…

    • I don’t remember disliking it until my kids started school. Eventually the board decided to either plan spring break…or some other break…right after DST started, which helped. But then I hit 30 and it was like springing ahead in April (now March) just left me feeling exhausted forever.

      I’d like to just set the clock back an hour every spring and fall. After a few years, we’d wake up and it would be yesterday. Do over!!! 🙂

      • my son is with you, Kristy. he lives in Saskatchewan, the province to our east and they don’t do DST,

        as for me, i’m with you – it takes longer every season to adjust to this change.

  4. Debra Kristi says:

    Personally, I don’t like it. I had always heard it was used to benifit the farmers. But I live in an area where there are more farmers, so I guess that’s why I’ve heard that. .

  5. Katrina says:

    I think we should just leave it alone, although your idea isn’t bad to use it in the winter instead of the summer, but I’m not sure how this affects people in other parts of the country. Where I live we are at an extreme elevation (7600 – 10,000) so in the middle of July, we can have daylight until 10:00 p.m if the weather is good. I say leave it alone and stop switching back and forth.

  6. I wish we’d stick with DST and not go back every winter and fall. We spend more time on it than off.

  7. asraidevin says:

    Wasn’t there a state who stopped doing it after investigating the cost and finding out it cost a ton of money? I think it’s time to get rid of it. IT’s annoying, it’s supposedly expensive (thus the date change when we change our clocks a few years back), and mostly unnecessary. Plus I just want daylight in the afternoon, it fits my schedule better.

    • I think that Arizona doesn’t do it (except maybe an Indian nation part of it). It gets so hot there most of the residents aren’t interested in ‘enjoying’ an extra hour of sunshine every day. Maybe they decided that it was just way too expensive to use a/c so much. It’s been time to get rid of it forever. But I doubt they’ll stop it. People have voted it down but I would bet business owners want it so it will stay.

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