Daylight savings time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks (typically by one hour) during warmer months so that darkness falls at a later clock time. The idea of aligning waking hours to daylight hours to conserve candles was first proposed in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin. In a letter to the editor of The Journal of Paris, Franklin suggested that waking up earlier in the summer would economize on candle usage; and calculated considerable savings. It was in this letter where Franklin coined the proverb, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. Since then, many countries around the world have adopted DST.
In 1895, New Zealand entomologist and astronomer George Hudson proposed the idea of changing clocks by two hours every spring to the Wellington Philosophical Society. In 1908, Port Arthur in Ontario, Canada, started using DST. Starting on April 30, 1916, the German Empire and Austria-Hungary each organized the first nationwide implementation in their jurisdictions. DST is generally not observed near the Equator, where sunrise and sunset times do not vary enough to justify it. Some countries observe it only in some regions: for example, parts of Australia observe it, while other parts do not. Conversely, it is not observed at some places at high latitudes, because there are wide variations in sunrise and sunset times and a one-hour shift would relatively not make much difference. The United States observes it, except for the states of Hawaii and Arizona (within the latter, however, the Navajo Nation does observe it, conforming to federal practice). A minority of the world’s population uses DST; Asia, Africa, and Latin American and the Caribbean generally do not.
It is a common myth in the United States that DST was first implemented for the benefit of farmers. In reality, farmers have been one of the strongest lobbying groups against DST since it was first implemented. The factors that influence farming schedules, such as morning dew and dairy cattle’s readiness to be milked, are ultimately dictated by the sun, so the time change introduces unnecessary challenges.
All this being said, DST was not officially implemented in the US until the Standard Time Act of 1918, a wartime measure for seven months during World War I in the interest of adding more daylight hours to conserve energy resources. Year-round DST, or “War Time”, was implemented again during World War II. After the war, local jurisdictions were free to choose if and when to observe DST until the Uniform Time Act which standardized DST in 1966. Permanent DST was enacted for the winter of 1974, but there were complaints of children going to school in the dark and working people commuting and starting their work day in pitch darkness during the winter months, and it was repealed a year later.
The concept of daylight saving has caused controversy since its early proposals. Winston Churchill argued that it enlarges “the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among the millions of people who live in this country” and pundits have dubbed it “Daylight Slaving Time”. Retailing, sports, and tourism interests have historically favored daylight saving, while agricultural and evening-entertainment interests (and some religious groups) have opposed it; energy crises and war prompted its initial adoption.
To this day, DST still causes turmoil amongst our country. In 2018, The Sunshine Protection Act was introduced by U.S. senator Marco Rubio (R‑FL). It failed to advance after its’ introduction and was reintroduced in 2019 by Vern Buchanan (R‑FL 16th) and similarly failed. The 2021 iteration was filed in the U.S. House of Representatives by Buchanan on January 4, 2021, and in the U.S. Senate by Rubio on March 9, 2021. The bill received bipartisan support; it passed the Senate by unanimous consent on March 15, 2022. Two days later, BuzzFeed News reported that many senators were not aware that a request had been made for the bill to pass via unanimous consent and were not ready to raise an objection. Rubio’s office had notified every other senator’s office of the request; however, it is a frequent occurrence for legislative staff to “vet the request” themselves to “decide if an issue is too benign or obviously doomed to bother their boss with”. BuzzFeed identified Tom Cotton (R‑AR) as a senator who, according to a member of his staff, was vehemently opposed to the bill and would have objected to its passage had he been informed of it. The bill has still not been approved and faces uncertain prospects in the House. Long story short, we still have DST twice a year until Congress decides otherwise. So, don’t forget to turn your clocks back this weekend Saturday night before you go to bed (official start date November 6, 2022).
Our kits are a great way to gracefully adapt to the time change. Use those early dark evenings to rest your mind with the repetitive motion of stitching today!
Wikipedia: Daylight Savings Time, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time#:~:text=DST%20was%20first%20implemented%20in%20the%20US%20with%20the%20Standard,again%20during%20World%20War%20II, obtained November 3, 2022.
Wikipedia: Sunshine Protection Act, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunshine_Protection_Act, obtained November 3, 2022.