Daylight Saving Time Begins Sunday
Just like allergies, college basketball and mud, another rite of spring is upon us: The start of Daylight Saving Time, which begins at 2 a.m. Sunday.
At that moment (or the night before), the few analog clocks still around need to “spring forward” an hour, turning 1:59:59 a.m. into 3 a.m. Since most of our computers, phones and DVRs do it automatically, it’s not as much of a chore as it used to be.
Starting Sunday, one hour of daylight is switched from morning to evening. We don’t go back to Standard Time until Sunday, Nov. 6.
Some things you may not know about Daylight Saving Time:
- In 2016 Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday March 13, 2016 at 2:00 a.m. local time. Clocks will shift forward 1 hour, making the local time 3:00 a.m.
- When Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins in the Northern Hemisphere, it is ending in the Southern Hemisphere.
Daylight Savings Time changes at 2:00 a.m. This time is selected in an effort to provide the least amount of inconvenience to businesses and citizens.
- DST always begins on the second Sunday in March, and ends on the first Sunday in November.
- Hawaii and Arizona do not use DST. Up until 2006, Indiana only used DST in part of the state.
- Though in favor of maximizing daylight waking hours, Benjamin Franklin did not originate the idea of moving clocks forward.
By the time he was a 78-year-old American envoy in Paris in 1784, the man who espoused the virtues of “early to bed and early to rise” was not practicing what he preached.
After being unpleasantly stirred from sleep at 6 a.m. by the summer sun, the founding father penned a satirical essay in which he calculated that Parisians, simply by waking up at dawn, could save the modern-day equivalent of $200 million through “the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.”
As a result of this essay, Franklin is often erroneously given the honor of “inventing” daylight saving time, but he only proposed a change in sleep schedules—not the time itself.
Englishman William Willett led the first campaign to implement daylight saving time.
While on an early-morning horseback ride around the desolate outskirts of London in 1905, Willett had an epiphany that the United Kingdom should move its clocks forward by 80 minutes between April and October so that more people could enjoy the plentiful sunlight.
The Englishman published the 1907 brochure “The Waste of Daylight” and spent much of his personal fortune evangelizing with missionary zeal for the adoption of “summer time.”
Year after year, however, the British Parliament stymied the meas
ure, and Willett died in 1915 at age 58 without ever seeing his idea come to fruition.
Germany was the first country to enact daylight saving time.
It took World War I for Willett’s dream to come true, but on April 30, 1916, Germany embraced daylight saving time to conserve electricity. (He may have been horrified to learn that Britain’s wartime enemy followed his recommendations before his homeland.) Weeks later, the United Kingdom followed suit and introduced “summer time.”
Daylight saving time in the United States was not intended to benefit farmers, as many people think.
Contrary to popular belief, American farmers did not lobby for daylight saving to have more time to work in the fields; in fact, the agriculture industry was deeply opposed to the time switch when it was first implemented on March 31, 1918, as a wartime measure.
The sun, not the clock, dictated farmers’ schedules, so daylight saving was very disruptive. Farmers had to wait an extra hour for dew to evaporate to harvest hay, hired hands worked less since they still left at the same time for dinner and cows weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier to meet shipping schedules.
Agrarian interests led the fight for the 1919 repeal of national daylight saving time, which passed after Congress voted to override President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. Rather than rural interests, it has been urban entities such as retail outlets and recreational businesses that have championed daylight saving over the decades.
Love it or hate it, the time has arrived.
Sources and related articles: