What time Is It? A History of Daylight Savings Minnesota and Elsewhere
A History of Daylight Savings
The purpose of daylight savings time is to move the clock ahead by an hour in the springtime to gain more daylight time . The clocks are moved back in the fall. Daylight savings time in some form has been tried as far back as ancient civilizations.
When I was probably about five years old my sister, a teenager, was always on my case because I couldn’t tell time . I don’t know why I couldn’t learn to tell time but now I suspect that I really had no motivation. I didn’t care what time it was . In later years I’ve been a slave to the clock. It was in about that same time period that the Second World War was raging. I do somehow remember we had a form of daylight savings time. Its purpose, I think, was to save electricity. Also to have fewer lights on that might attract enemy air attacks. We also had light blocking shades on the windows.
After the war the daylight time was rescinded and it wasn’t until the 1960’s that it was reintroduced in Minnesota. At the time I was going to the University and earning the money to live and pay tuition by delivering newspapers on a motor route. That is delivering by automobile in areas too spread out for foot carriers. It was kind of nice in springtime that some early dawn light made it easier and more pleasant to deliver. Then they reinvented daylight savings time and I was back to delivering in the dark.
I’ve never cared for the use of daylight time although it was quite popular at the time. There were a lot of mix-ups on time back in the 1960’s. Maybe it was somehow symbolic of the times. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I lived, the city went on daylight time but the State didn’t. This meant that businesses ran on daylight time but that any state office was operating on standard time..
The University of Minnesota, being a state facility, stayed on standard time, which made it confusing to the students put signs over the street which went through the campus warning “You are entering a standard time zone .”
Sometimes schedules were adjusted for flexibility, which might divide daylight into twelve hours making it so that the daylight hours were longer during the summer. Roman water clocks, for instance, had different scales for different months of the year. In later times hours were equal length and time no longer varied by season. In some traditional settings such as Jewish ceremonies unequal hours are still used.
Benjamin Franklin in 1784 presented a plan for saving daylight as a joke. In an essay “An Economic Project,” Franklin made fun of Frenchmen who sleep late. He published an anonymous letter suggesting candles could be saved if people got up earlier to take advantage of morning sunlight. Satirically he suggested taxing shutters, rationing candles and waking the public by firing canons and ringing church bells at sunrise. I’m afraid a satire like this now would probably be taken seriously and a czar would be appointed to implement it.
It wasn’t until the 18th Century that railroads and communications networks made it important to standardize time
New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson was the first to propose modern daylight savings time (DST). He did shift-work which gave him time to collect insects and he thought it might be good to have more daylight hours to pursue his avocation. He presented a paper in 1895 to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight saving shift. Interest in the idea was expressed and he presented another paper in1898.
English builder and avid golfer, William Willett independently conceived of DST in 1905.He proposed advancing the clock an hour in the summer. English parliament member Robert Pearce introduced a bill but it did not become law.
World War I
April 1916 Germany and its allies first used daylight savings time to conserve coal. Britain and most of its allies and neutrals did so as well.
In the United states Daylight Savings Time was established by the Act of March 19, 1918 or the Standard Time Act intended to save electricity for seven months of the year. During World War I. It was repealed in 1919 but standard time in time zones stayed in law. The Interstate Commerce Commission got authority over time zone boundaries making daylight time a local matter.
Daylight savings time
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World War II
January 20, 1942 Congress enacted the Wartime Act, which reinstated DST in the United States as a wartime measure to conserve energy. September 1945 and it ended after the war. It was called wartime.
Between 1945 and 1966 federal law did not deal with DST. Without standardization there was a hodgepodge of places being on different time schedules. This made it a problem for travelers passing through various time zones on even short trips. In the mid-1960’s the transportation industries lobbied for uniform standards.
Daylight Savings Time 1966
The U.S. federal uniform time act was made law April 13, 1966 mandating DST begin nationally on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October. Starting in 1967.
Although the act preempted state laws previously in effect states were able to pass state laws to opt out of daylight time.
In the energy crisis in 1973 daylight in the United States began earlier in 1974 and 1975.
In 2007 DST was extended four to five weeks longer and became part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Advantages of DST
Daylight time tends to favor those who want to engage in outdoor activities such as golf during afternoon daylight hours. Its primary advantage in saving energy is mostly from effects on residential lighting.
Retailers, sporting goods makers, and some other businesses gain from the extra daylight time. On the other hand, farmers, prime time broadcasting, and drive-in theaters and other theaters. DST can create extra work and cost to support such things as support for remote meetings and computer applications.
In the U.S. there are indications that there are fewer traffic fatalities during DST. There seems to be some increase in accident at the beginning of DST periods, which might be due to sleep interruption.
Wikipedia History of time in United states
- History of time in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Link to article on History of time in the United States
Daylight savings time
- The Official 60\'s Site-Daylight Savings Time - Chaos in the 60s
Daylight savings time in 1960's
© 2011 Don A. Hoglund
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