Thursday, November 1, 2018

Daylight Savings Time

Reset your clocks back to standard time on Sunday, November 4!   Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m.
Although this has become a standard practice, it would have seemed new and strange to the owner of this clock, manufactured in March of 1918.  
Westclox Big Ben by the Western Clock Company, LaSalle, Illinois

The use of daylight saving time was one of many innovations introduced during the circa 1920 period. In 1916, the German Empire advanced their clocks an hour in order to conserve on scarce coal supplies during World War I.  Within a month, the Allies had done the same.  The United States did not adopt the practice until March of 1918, with daylight savings time to run from March 31 to October 27.  The practice was unpopular with rural communities and with rank and file industrial workers who effectively lobbied for the law’s repeal in 1919.  Urban retailers and recreation interests like the practice and were successful in retaining it in some areas such as Chicago and New York City.  

Daylight saving time returned on a national level in 1942 when it was dubbed “war time” and lasted without interruption until 1945.   Year-round daylight saving time was also used during the energy crisis of 1974-1975. To end the hodge-podge of local laws, in 1966 Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which standardized the used from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.  States could pass a law opting out if it applied to the whole state.  Only Arizona and Hawaii have done so. 

The original rationale for daylight saving time was to save on electricity.  Studies have shown that by 1970 the savings were small (about one percent) and may even be negative due to the greater use of air conditioning during daylight hours.

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