Don’t Forget! Daylight Saving Time Ends Sunday, Novemeber 5!
This year’s Daylight Saving Time, or Daylights Savings Time as it is often pronounced, will end early in the morning on Sunday, November 5th. This means that across most of the country, in each timezone, as the clock reaches 1:59:59am it will then fall back to 1:00:00am. Most people look forward to a bit of extra sleep as the day is lengthened to 25 hours but that’s not actually the point, it’s just a nice fringe benefit.
The history of DST and how it was introduced to the US
Two men independently came up with the idea of moving the clock forward around the turn of the 20th century. In 1895 a New Zealand entomologist (scientist who studies insects) wanted to have more daylight after his job to spend outdoors collecting insects. A decade later, an Englishman named William Willett noticed how many Londoners slept through the early part of summer days and began to advocate a proposal until his death in 1915.
However, the first place to adopt Daylight Saving Time were the Central Powers of WWI, Germany and Austria-Hungary. They introduced it in 1916 as a way to save coal. Britain and France followed suit shortly thereafter but the US waited until 1918 to implement it.
Like most issues today, Daylight Saving Time has a fair amount of political controversy. It is generally supported by retail, sport and tourism interests, but opposed by farmers and evening entertainment groups, like movie theaters. Due to this, Congress repealed DST after the war in 1919, but because president Woodrow Wilson loved playing golf in the afternoons, he vetoed it twice; the second veto was overridden.
Shortly after the US entered WWII late in 1941, Congress passed the War Time Act, which put the entire country on year-round daylight saving time starting in February 1942. During this time, the time zones were officially denoted as War Time, for example Eastern War Time and Central War Time, making it clear that this was a wartime measure to save electricity and fuel sources.
After the war ended, national Daylight Saving Time ended as well on September 30th, 1945. Afterwards, states and cities continued to follow DST or not as they saw fit and they also determined when to start and end it. This lead to a patchwork of different times across the country, meaning sometimes the time would change back and forth during a single short trip.
Airlines and other transportation industries successfully lobbied Congress to pass a law for a national DST, starting on the last Sunday in April and lasting till the last Sunday in October in 1967. Due to the energy crisis of the early Seventies, Daylight Saving Time started even earlier in 1974 and 1975, January 6th and February 23rd respectively. A similar justification was used to further extend DST in 2007 by four to five weeks, but studies about it are inconclusive, with some types of energy consumption that decrease, such as lighting, being balanced out by increased consumption for things such as cooling.
Don’t forget this weekend to turn your clocks back, and if you have any opinions about Daylight Saving Time, let us know by leaving us a comment!