Eddyville, KY

Opinion

Like it or not, Daylight Saving is here to stay

Wednesday, November 09, 2016 - Updated: 1:02 AM
Georgetown News Graphic

Like most people I'm not fond of Daylight Savings Time, although I do like it in the fall better than the spring.

So, this weekend we adjusted our clocks backward by one hour giving us presumably an extra hour of rest.

Something we all need.

But the "extra" hour also adds an hour to this rancid election we are enduring.

Oh well.

This thing called Daylight Saving Time actually started in Ontario, Canada, and several other locations in Canada followed suit.

But Germany became the first country to introduce DST in 1916 in order to save fuel during World War I.

England liked the idea and shortly followed with France not far behind.

When the war ended, most European countries returned to standard time.

The idea of manipulating time goes back to the Roman civilization.

The Romans used water clocks with different scales for different months of the year. Many ancient civilizations adjusted their daily schedules based upon the sun's schedule.

A popular American myth is that Benjamin Franklin started DST, but that is not true. Franklin did write an essay entitled "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light" in 1784.

In the essay Franklin suggested the French could economize candle usage by getting out of bed earlier and make better use of the morning light.

Farmers have been unjustly credited with DST. In fact, farmers almost revolted because the time change meant they had less time to collect eggs, milk and other harvested crops in the morning.

Farmers were so upset that Congress had to agree to repeal DST immediately after World War I ended -- even before the Versailles Treaty was signed.

In 1942, the United States passed the Daylight Saving Time policy that endured throughout World War II.

The practice became known as "War Time" as various time zones adopted their own version. New York City even had its own version.

The practice became so confusing that transportation schedules became muddled and confusion reigned.

"In 1965 there were 130 cities in the country with populations of 100,000 or more, 59 did not observe daylight saving time," said Michael Downing, author of "Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time."

Of the 71 that did, there were at least 20 different adoption dates.

In Minnesota, St. Paul was on one time and Minneapolis was on a different time.

In fact, somebody even found a Minneapolis office building in which the different floors of the building were observing different time zones because they were offices of different counties."

As a result in 1966 Congress established the Uniform Time Act mandating that DST would begin the last Sunday of April and end the last Sunday of October.

States maintained the right to exempt themselves. Arizona and Hawaii, for example, do not observe DST.

Because of the energy crisis in 1976, the DST was revised and over the next few years the schedule was revised again and again.

The current schedule was introduced in 2007 and follows the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period by about one month.

Today, DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November.

Today, some 70 countries and over 1 billion people observe DST.

The schedule varies, for example DST in Europe runs from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

A couple other trivia notes:

--TV networks and movie theaters generally dislike DST. Nielsen ratings during the hours impacted by the change in schedule show substantial declines in ratings. When it is still light outside at 8 p.m. fewer people attend a movie, choosing instead to take a walk or do something outside.

--Golf courses, however, love the change as more afternoon daylight fills the links.

--Crime rates generally drop as more people get home while it is still light outside. A 2012 crime study showed that robberies fell by 40 percent following DST.

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