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Hate Daylight Saving Time? Blame the Kaiser

Do we still need Daylight Saving Time?

Learn why we change clocks twice a year in this brief history of Daylight Saving Time.
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Learn why we change clocks twice a year in this brief history of Daylight Saving Time.

Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday, so get ready to spring forward and lose an hour of sleep.

The concept of DST goes back to the Founding Fathers, to Benjamin Franklin specifically. But he may have just been joking when he suggested something akin to the modern practice in his 1784 essay, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.”

Ultimately, the concept of Daylight Savings Time was born of war.

DST came into being as a wartime necessity to save on coal and other fuels, and it was actually the Germans who first instituted in during World War I. Other European countries joined in soon and eventually in 1918, so did the U.S.

But everybody went back to standard time when the war ended.

It was instituted again during World War II when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt decreed that it would go into effect year round for the duration of the war. It was called “War Time” instead of Daylight Saving Time.

After the war, some states went back to Standard Time and others kept observing DST, which caused some serious headaches for the railroads, among others.

In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which established am official beginning and end date for DST

Finally, in 1986, Congress set the dates for DST from the second Sunday in April until the first Sunday in November.

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