Time Change

World map. Europe, Russia, most of North America, parts of southern South America and southern Australia, and a few other places use DST. Most of equatorial Africa and a few other places near the equator have never used DST. The rest of the land mass is marked as formerly using DST.


It’s that time of year where the majority of  the United States set our clock’s back.  We were all taught as children, spring forward, fall back.  I thought it was last week, but apparently the last administration changed it by a week in the fall.  So it got me thinking back in history as to why we have this daylight savings tradition?

In the United States daylight savings time (DST) is not observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, parts of Indiana, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.  The exception in Arizona being the Navajo Nation.

This tradition started during the middle of World War I in Europe with Germany and its allies implementing DST.  Britain, France, Russia and other European nations soon followed suit and in March 1918 the US adopted the changing of the clocks.  The main reason was to conserve fuel for the manufacture of war production, taking advantage of the longer daylight hours during the spring and summer, specifically from March to October.

The contemporary idea was first proposed in 1895 by New Zealander George Vernon Hudson.  As an entomologist he took advantage of the extended daylight to collect insects and proposed in a paper that the country shift its time by two hours to become more effective.  It was not put to use.  From 1905 to 1915 William Willett from Britain recommend DST so that Londoners could be more productive during the daylight.  It was accepted the following year, after his death.

In the US, responsibility of daylight savings falls under the Department of Transportation.  Why?  It’s goes back to the railroad heyday when standardization of train schedules was necessary and regularly published.  In reality, it was not until 1986 that the system became standardized in the US.  In 2007 DST was extended by four weeks beginning on the second sunday in March and lasting until the first sunday in November.

Research suggests the benefits of more daylight  increases energy savings while decreasing the number of traffic accidents, traffic fatalities, and incidences of crime.

With the end of daylight savings time, I’m looking forward to my extra hour of sleep, but not the early onset of darkness.


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