Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Heritage of the Great War: Daylight Saving Time

During World War I, in an effort to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power, Germany and Austria took time by the forelock and began saving daylight at 11 p.m. on 30 April 1916, by advancing the hands of the clock one hour until the following October. This 1916 action was immediately followed by other countries in Europe, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey, as were Tasmania, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba. Britian began three weeks later, on 21 May 1916. In 1917, Australia, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia initiated it. The plan was not formally adopted in the United States until 1918. "An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States" was enacted on 19 March 1918.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Charles P. Higgins turns forward the Ohio Clock for the first Daylight Saving Time, while Senators William M. Calder (NY), Willard Saulsbury, Jr. (DE), and Joseph T. Robinson (AR) look on, 1918.

Daylight Saving Time was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919. After the war ended, the law proved so unpopular (mostly because people rose earlier and went to bed earlier than people do today) that it was repealed in 1919 with a Congressional override of President Wilson's veto. Some citizens had protested the law, using the slogan, “Give us back our stolen hour.” Daylight Saving Time became a local option and was continued in a few states, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in some cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

But the allure of Daylight Saving Time would prove irresistible. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, called "War Time," from 9 February 1942 to 30 September 1945. [See law] From 1945 to 1966, there was no federal law regarding Daylight Saving Time, so states and localities were free to choose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time and could choose when it began and ended. This understandably caused confusion, especially for the broadcasting industry, as well as for railways, airlines, and bus companies. Because of the different local customs and laws, radio and TV stations and the transportation companies had to publish new schedules every time a state or town began or ended Daylight Saving Time.

By 1966, some 100 million Americans were observing Daylight Saving Time based on their local laws and customs. Congress decided to step in and end the confusion, and to establish one pattern across the country. The Uniform Time Act of 1966, signed into Public Law 89-387 on 12 April 1966, by President Lyndon Johnson, created Daylight Saving Time to begin on the last Sunday of April and to end on the last Sunday of October. Any state that wanted to be exempt from Daylight Saving Time could do so by passing a state law. Lately, Daylight Savings Time has been further adjusted to  start on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November

Sources: and Wikipedia (photo)

1 comment:

  1. During the 1950s and 60 daylight saving time in Kentucky was known as RAILROAD TIME. Those who did not follow RAILROAD Time observed GOD'S TIME.