Although daylight savings has only been used for about 100 years, ancient civilizations had been known to use a similar system. Ancient people would adjust their daily schedules to the sun’s schedule. Benjamin Franklin is often credited with bringing daylight savings time into the modern limelight. He suggested, in a essay, although jokingly, that Parisians could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead.
Both George Vernon Hudson and William Willett had also suggested a system similar to daylight savings. Both men suggested setting clocks either forward or back to coincide with daylight hours. Willet actually suggested eight time changes a year moving clocks in 20 minute increments. This plan was introduced to the British House of Commons in February 1908, with the first bill drafted in 1909, however, the idea was never made into a law.
Daylight Savings in Europe
Germany was the first country to implement DST in 1916 in an effort to save fuel for the war. The innovative idea caught on and countries around the world used DST during the war, but many reverted back to standard time after WWI. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted year-round DST in the United States, called “War Time” during World War II from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945.
Modern DST in the U.S.
In the United States, DST caused widespread confusion from 1945 to because states and localities were free to choose when and if they would observe DST. In 1966 Congress passed into law the Uniform Time Act which stated DST would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. However, states still had the ability to be exempt from DST by passing a local ordinance.
Daylight Saving today
DST is now in use in more than 70 countries, and affects more than a billion people every year. The DST schedule in the U.S. was revised several times throughout the years. Our current DST schedule was introduced in 2007 and follows the Energy policy Act of 2005. DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. Currently, most of the United States observes DST except for Hawaii and most of Arizona.
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