Monday, March 10, 2014

Daylight Savings

I don’t know about you, but I needed that hour of sleep that I lost yesterday morning to Daylight Savings time. Working hard all week, all I want to do is sleep in on Sunday morning. Well I did do that, but I almost slept into Sunday afternoon.

Time is one of those funny things that is a human invention to keep track of ourselves. We measure our lives in this made up way that measures days, weeks, months, and years, and apparently can change time ahead or back at whim. Maybe I’m extra grouchy due to the time change, but it begs me to wonder, what is the history of Daylight Savings (DST).

Have you ever seen that Disney movie National Treasure? In it they say that it was Benjamin Franklin who first proposed the idea of DST. Doing my research, I see that this practice goes much further back than the Founding Fathers, even as far back as the Romans. It makes sense to think that these ancient civilizations adjusted themselves in accordance to the sun.

There is debate over whether Franklin himself first suggested it, or that belongs to an entomologist from New Zealand. Regardless it was William Willett in 1905 that first proposed the idea of moving the clocks forward in the summer in this more modern age. The first Daylight Savings Bill was drafted in 1909 and presented to Parliament. Many opposed the plans, so it was never put into effect while Willett was alive. DST was first put into effect during WWI to help conserve energy in Germany at 11:00 p.m. on April 30, 1916. May countries followed. Many countries reverted back after the war, and DST didn’t return until WWII. Even then, it wasn’t until the Energy crisis in the 1970s that made DST a common act in the United States.

And so you have it, the history of a practice we have twice a year. Now, I need to go catch up on my sleep I missed this weekend due to DTS. Happy History!

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