Rushville Republican

Columns

March 4, 2014

Get ready to "spring forward"

Guess what? Daylight Savings Time starts this coming Sunday, March 9. On that day, we “spring ahead” which means that we move all our clocks ahead one hour. So, instead of noon, it will be 1 p.m. beginning on March 9 and lasting until we “fall back” one hour on Sunday, Nov. 2.

It’s interesting to note that most of the Northern Hemisphere and all of Western Europe observe Daylight Savings Time, and yet there remains some opposition to the annual time change. The history of the use of Daylight Savings Time is interesting, to say the least. According to Wikipedia, “During his time as an American envoy to France, Benjamin Franklin anonymously published a letter suggesting that Parisians economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight. This 1784 satire proposed taxing shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise. Franklin did not propose Daylight Savings Time; like ancient Rome, 18th-century Europe did not keep precise schedules. However, this soon changed as rail and communication networks came to require a standardization of time unknown in Franklin’s day.”

Wikipedia goes on to point out that modern Daylight Savings Time was proposed in England by William Willett in 1905. Willett was an avid golfer and he disliked cutting short his game at dusk. His solution was to advance the clock one hour during the summer months. He published a paper on the advantages of Daylight Savings Time that was taken up by a Member of Parliament, Robert Pearce, who then introduced the first Daylight Savings Bill in the House of Commons in 1908.

During World War I, in 1916, Germany was the first country in Europe to move to Daylight Savings Time to help conserve coal. England and most of the allied countries soon did the same. The United States adopted DST in 1918.

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