The Real Reason We Have Daylight Savings Time
Most people who have to turn their clocks backwards or forwards despise the idea of Daylight Savings Time. It’s an inconvenience, it’s annoying, and most people don’t see the point. Those with kids or pets that need to be cared for know that their internal clocks don’t change despite what the clock says, and it can have disastrous effects on sleep schedules of families.
So why do we do it?
Some people believe it has to do with farming. The idea is that farmers needed an “extra” hour of daylight in the winter to tend to their animals and crops. However, how does this make any sense? Shifting the clocks really doesn’t add any daylight to the 24 hour period we call a day, despite it being called Daylight Savings Time.
The first official Daylight Savings Time was instituted in Germany on May 1, 1916 in the middle of World War I. At the time, Germany needed to conserve energy for the war, and the thinking was that by shifting everyone’s sleep schedules they would use less power in their daily lives.
However, the real inspiration for Daylight Savings Time came from England, nine years earlier. William Willet published an essay titled “The waste of Daylight” where he noted that there were hours of the day spent sleeping while the sun was out. His idea to shift the clocks most likely gave Germany the idea in the first place.
The United States instituted the first Daylight Savings law in 1918, after also entering the war.
One side effect of shifting the clock was that Americans started spending more money on recreational activities. Baseball and golf ball sales went through the roof compared to the year prior. However, there were some industries that opposed the change. The movie industry saw a steep decline in ticket sales dropped.
After World War I ended, Congress actually repealed DST. Surprisingly enough, because of pressure from farmers who claimed that it made it more difficult to harvest.
In 1942, DST was reinstated as the United States entered another war. However, it wasn’t until 1966 that an official law was signed by President Lyndon Johnson. The law, however, did allow states to opt out, but it did not allow individual cities to decide whether they would follow the new law.
Watch the video below of a dog who is not impressed with DST!
Do you think we should continue following Daylight Savings Time?