SPARTA, NJ – Twice a year we move the clocks. Sunday, March 8 at 2 a.m. we move them ahead for Daylight Saving Time.
The idea of shifting time began long ago. Benjamin Franklin wrote about people waking earlier as a way to conserve candles. An entomologist in New Zealand, George Hudson, was a major factor in getting the idea off the ground with two papers presented to his professional society but it never went anywhere. He wanted additional daylight to study his bugs.
William Willett a British builder came up with a similar plan of a series of 20 minutes adjustments to the clock. He made the proposal in 1905. In 1908 it was presented to the House of Commons in Great Britain.
Germany was the first country to actually put it into practice in 1916, in an effort to save fuel during World War I. It was first introduced in the US in 1918 by Robert Garland from Pittsburgh, also to support the war effort. Woodrow Wilson signed it into law. Garland is referred to as “the father of Daylight Saving.”
There was great confusion caused by the initial implementation until the passage of the Uniform Time Act in 1966. States and local governments were still free to choose whether or not to implement DST, but if they did it had to be in alignment with the act; moving the clocks on the same day and by the same amount. The act was adjusted in the mid 70’s as a way to save oil during the energy crisis. It was shown to save about 1% of energy costs at that time. Those savings, however, are mitigated in current times with the widespread use of air conditioning and home electronics.
The act was amended in 1987 and most recently in 2005.
Hawaii and most of Arizona are currently the only states that do not observe DST.