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Daylight Savings Time A Century Ago

Daylight time, a monstrosity in timekeeping.

Harry Truman

 

 

 

 

As you “lose” an hour of sleep tomorrow, please recall the history of this bad idea.  Daylight Savings Time in the US was ushered in by Congress on March 19, 1918 with the Standard Time Act of 1918 as a temporary war measure, and, son of a gun, Daylight Savings Time was repealed by Congress in 1919, over the veto of President Wilson.  Daylight Savings Time came back with World War II.  From 1945-1966 local communities were left to determine whether to observe Daylight Savings Time which normally ran from April to September.  Congress in 1966 made Daylight Savings Time national with the Uniform Time Act, with Daylight Savings Time running from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.  In response to the Energy Crisis on 1973, Congress started Daylight Savings Time in 1974 on January 6 and in 1975 on February 23.  Parents were real thrilled with their kids walking to school in the dark, and the start and stop dates for Daylight Savings Time went back to April and September in 1976.  Congress in 2005 tinkered with Daylight Savings Time again, setting it from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

It is arguable that Daylight Savings Time has never made sense, but it certainly does not today in a global economy and e-commerce 24-7.  Time to do away with this annoying anachronism.

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Benjamin Franklin and Daylight Savings Time

(Enjoy the extra hour due to the temporary ending of Daylight Savings Time.  Here is a post from 2015 noting yet another idea of our Founding Father polymath.)

Throughout his illustrious, and hectic, career, Benjamin Franklin found time to write anonymous satirical pieces which he wrote as a form of relaxation.  Here is one written in 1784 in which he suggests the adoption of a rudimentary form of Daylight Savings Time:

 

 

Time 06

To THE AUTHORS of
The Journal of Paris

 

MESSIEURS,

You often entertain us with accounts of new discoveries. Permit me to communicate to the public, through your paper, one that has lately been made by myself, and which I conceive may be of great utility.

I was the other evening in a grand company, where the new lamp of Messrs. Quinquet and Lange was introduced, and much admired for its splendour; but a general inquiry was made, whether the oil it consumed was not in proportion to the light it afforded, in which case there would be no saving in the use of it. No one present could satisfy us in that point, which all agreed ought to be known, it being a very desirable thing to lessen, if possible, the expense of lighting our apartments, when every other article of family expense was so much augmented.

I was pleased to see this general concern for economy, for I love economy exceedingly.

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6

Benjamin Franklin and Daylight Savings Time

Time 06

Throughout his illustrious, and hectic, career, Benjamin Franklin found time to write anonymous satirical pieces which he wrote as a form of relaxation.  Here is one written in 1784 in which he suggests the adoption of a rudimentary form of Daylight Savings Time:

To THE AUTHORS of
The Journal of Paris

 

MESSIEURS,

You often entertain us with accounts of new discoveries. Permit me to communicate to the public, through your paper, one that has lately been made by myself, and which I conceive may be of great utility.

I was the other evening in a grand company, where the new lamp of Messrs. Quinquet and Lange was introduced, and much admired for its splendour; but a general inquiry was made, whether the oil it consumed was not in proportion to the light it afforded, in which case there would be no saving in the use of it. No one present could satisfy us in that point, which all agreed ought to be known, it being a very desirable thing to lessen, if possible, the expense of lighting our apartments, when every other article of family expense was so much augmented.

I was pleased to see this general concern for economy, for I love economy exceedingly.

Continue Reading