Turn the clocks back this weekend! Plus, learn how Daylight Savings got started in this interesting blog post

November 5, 2010

squared circles - Clocks

In America, we all know the saying for Daylight Saving Time: "Fall Back, Spring Ahead," but do you know why we even have Daylight Savings Time? The hours divided between day and night are pretty even the closer you get to the equator; however, the further away you move from the equator, the more (or less) daylight you have during certain times of year. So in order to gain as much daylight as possible for areas that receive less daylight in winter, the clocks are turned back one hour. Sounds simple, right? But where did this brilliant idea come from?

The Original Creator of Daylight Savings Time

Believe or not the idea of Daylight Savings was first conceived in 1784 by an American: Benjamin Franklin. Yes, Mr. Franklin was obviously very busy in the 18th century. Franklin knew inventors in Paris who created a new kind of oil lamp, and being the creative types, they were intrigued by his idea. However, it was William Willett, a builder in London, who first advocated Franklin’s idea in 1907. Willet wrote a pamphlet, entitled "Waste Of Daylight", that proposed advancing the clock by 20 minutes during each Sunday in April, and delaying them by the same amount in September. It’s hard enough to remember to change the clocks twice a year, so I can see why they decided not to change them eight times a year.

From Concept to Reality

Over a year later, Robert Pearce introduced a bill in the House of Commons to make it compulsory to adjust the clocks. The bill was drafted in 1909 and introduced in Parliament numerous times, but it was turned down and even mocked. Nothing was done with the bill, and unfortunately Willett later died on March 4, 1915.

However the following year – thanks to Britain trying to follow Germany- Britain passed an act that added 80 minutes in four separate increments. Not everyone was happy about it though; for years people opposed the act – even the Royal Meteorological Society insisted that Greenwich Time would still be used to measure the tides. But after years of opposition, Parliament decided (after World War I) that the time set for changing clocks was going to be 2:00 AM on a Sunday.

So remember to "FALL BACK" and set your clocks back 1 hour on November 7th, 2010.

Information provided by Eileen Nelson, First Weber Group North Shore Office

Based on an article by Susanna Speier

photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/60496147/

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