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Why Does the U.S. Observe Daylight Savings? Everything You Need to Know About the Time Phenomenon

Many Americans are used to the concept of adjusting their clocks by an hour twice a year- even though many forget to do it until after several hours. Daylight Saving Time has been a common practice for several decades, but many people don’t even know why it’s in place. That’s why this article will explore what it is, why, and when it came into existence.

What exactly is Daylight Saving Time(DST)?

Unless you live in Arizona, where DST isn’t a thing, we bet you know the DST drill. When it’s spring, we adjust our clocks by going an hour forward; then, we turn our clocks backward by an hour during fall. 

Courtesy: The Conversation

The practice of turning clocks forward and backward is known as an American thing, even though it didn’t start there. The practice implies a lifestyle change that most people struggle with, from earlier bedtimes to work time changes. 

Who invented Daylight Saving Time (DST)?

DST has been observed for a long time, but no one can really say who started the practice. Some believe that George Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist, proposed a two-hour rollback on clocks because he wanted more daylight to collect insects. 

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Another claim is that Benjamin proposed the DST idea back in 1784 to ensure early risers. However, the 1907 “The Waste of Daylight” pamphlet by British builder William Willet seems to be the most likely origin of Daylight Savings. 

Why was Daylight Saving Time (DST) created?

Just as different people were credited with creating the Daylight Savings practice, historians have pointed out different reasons for it. However, the bottom line is that these original reasons aren’t necessarily connected to today’s practice. 

Courtesy: Freepik

The most upheld claim is that farmers originated the practice so as to have more daylight for farming activities. But when it was adopted in the 20th century, farmers weren’t even in support of the practice- so it might not even be farmers.

When did clocks start to roll back?

According to the Congressional Research Service, Germany was the first country to observe DST to conserve fuel in 1916. Germany believed that by limiting the use of artificial light, changing clocks would save $23.8 million (over $680 million today).

Courtesy: Freepik

Many other European countries followed in Germany’s footsteps, then America started to use DST in 1918. One year later, American states were given the option to continue the Daylight Savings practice.

Why does it still exist today?

The whole country observed DST year-round from the World War II period until 1966, when the Uniform Time Act created the practice used today. In 1966, clocks started springing forward in March and going backward in September. 

Courtesy: Freepik

However, the year-round system was reintroduced in 1974, but it didn’t last for up to a year. Whether the twice-yearly clock change is a more practical way of balancing time or just a sort of culture, we know it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

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