Daylight Saving Time: An Origin Story

Jumping to try and catch the early sunset.

Jumping to try and catch the early sunset.

This past weekend most of the United States and Europe (and some other countries here and there) participated in a startlingly dumb ritual called Daylight Saving Time. To this point, I’d been lead to believe that DST had something to do with farmers and crops and such, but I’ve never really been totally sure. So, I decided to head out to my local internet and see if I could suss out the real meaning.

The first thing I was surprised

to discover is that I’ve been saying and writing DST incorrectly this whole time. Apparently, Daylight Saving Time is correct, even thought it sounds really weird. Learning!

Some other interesting tidbits I picked up:

  • DST seems to have been started by several European countries during WWI in order to save electricity. Germany was the first country to enact DST with England following suit soon after.
  • Despite my earlier beliefs, farmers hated DST as it was actually more disruptive to their work than anything else. In fact, after the US enacted DST as a wartime measure during WWI, the farmers successfully had it repealed in 1919. From that point on it was crazytown in regards to DST with some regions practicing it and others ignoring it.
  • Tired of all the crazypants time changes throughout the States, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966.
  • I really don’t like Daylight Saving Time. It feels needlessly disruptive.
  • Hawaii and Arizona (in addition to some US territories) don’t practice DST. Good on ya!
  • It’s dumb and doesn’t seem to really have any quantitative benefit. In fact, researchers that researched this sort of thing, found only about a 1% change in electricity use during DST.
  • The best time is when there is more light in the evenings. Everyone knows this and it is a fact.

Thanks to History.com and Snopes for the info!

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