Friday, March 31, 2006

Daylight Saving Time

This weekend, we in the United States will celebrate that annual Rite of Spring known as setting the clocks ahead. I once read Daylight Saving Time described as cutting one end off a blanket and sewing it upon the opposite end to make the blanket longer.

Benjamin Franklin is credited with first proposing the idea of daylight saving. While the American delegate in Paris in 1784 he proposed the concept in his essay, “An Economical Project.”

The idea was not adopted and was not seriously considered until the early 1900s. In a pamphlet entitled, “Waste of Daylight” (1907), London builder William Willett suggested turning the clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and back by the same amount on four Sundays in September.

In the United States the plan was not formally adopted until a 1918 act of Congress with mixed results.
'An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States' was enacted on March 19, 1918. It both established standard time zones and set summer DST to begin on March 31, 1918. Daylight Saving Time was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919. After the War ended, the law proved so unpopular (mostly because people rose earlier and went to bed earlier than people do today) that it was repealed in 1919 with a Congressional override of President Wilson's veto. Daylight Saving Time became a local option, and was continued in a few states, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in some cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
It wasn’t until WWII that a national change in time was once again adopted. President Franklin Roosevelt instituted “War Time,” a year–round Daylight Saving Time, from February 2, 1942 to September 30, 1945. Again, the goal was to save energy for the war effort. Once the war ended, however, there was no national law regulating DST and states and localities within the states were free to decide for themselves whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. With increases in television broadcasting and plane, train, bus and truck travel, such a haphazard system created much confusion.

Despite the confusion the next major change in DST took place in 1974.
On January 4, 1974, President Nixon signed into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973. Then, beginning on January 6, 1974, implementing the Daylight Saving Time Energy Act, clocks were set ahead for a 15-month period through April 27, 1975.

Legislation enacted in 1986 set the beginning and end of DST in the US as 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.
(Daylight Saving Time)

Even so, Daylight Saving Time is still not observed nationwide.

Only Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, and the territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa do not observe DST. Until this year, Indiana—or at least the majority of Indiana—could have been listed among those that didn’t change their clocks.
Under the old system, 77 of the state's 92 counties were in the Eastern Time Zone but did not change to daylight time in April. Instead they remained on standard time all year. That is, except for two counties near Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky., which did use daylight time.

But the counties in the northwest corner of the state (near Chicago) and the southwestern tip (near Evansville), which are in the Central Time Zone, used both standard and daylight time.

After years of contentious battle in the state legislature, the Hoosier State finally adopted DST in April of 2005. The old system remained in place last year but this weekend households across the state will be joining all 47 other states in making the switch.

Only a few months after Indiana joined the ranks of DST observers, in August of 2005, the U. S. Congress passed an energy bill that extended Daylight Saving Time by a month. Beginning in 2007, DST will start the second Sunday of March (instead of the first Sunday of April) and end on the first Sunday of November (instead of the last Sunday of October).

Whatever it's called, When I was working, I know I enjoyed having extra light in the evening in which to enjoy outdoor activities like gardening, birdwatching, hiking and such. Of course, now that I'm no longer attached to the clock for work the Sun is my master. Unless I want to travel, or watch sports on TV, or....


Just thinking of all those digital clocks that need resetting has made me tired. Think I'll go take a nap.

More Links:
Daylight Saving Time (Not Daylight "Savings" Time)
Daylight saving time
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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