BUCKHANNON — Daylight Savings Time (DST) will be observed throughout the state Sunday, springing clocks forward one hour.
Daylight Savings Time was believed to be established by Benjamin Franklin in his project “An Economical Project,” written in 1784. The project was an effort to save energy, with the idea that citizens would rise with the sun and perform their duties with the natural light, in turn, saving the expense of candlelight.
However, according to almanac.com, the true founder of DST is an Englishman named William Willet. Willet wrote his manifesto “The Waste of Daylight.” Willet reportedly spent a great fortune on his idea and was often ridiculed.
DST was not officially adopted until World War I, when a need was recognized to conserve coal to heat homes. Germany adopted DST in the year 1915 and then Britain adopted the idea shortly after. The United States followed suit in 1918, with the passing of the Standard Time Act that established time zones.
According to almanac.com, in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson declared war and suddenly, energy conservation was of paramount importance and several efforts were launched to enlist public support for changing the clocks. A group, called the National Daylight-Saving Convention, distributed postcards showing Uncle Sam holding a garden hoe and rifle, turning back the hands of a huge pocket watch. Voters were asked to sign and mail to their congressman postcards that declared, “If I have more daylight, I can work longer for my country. We need every hour of light.” After the rush of support, Congress declared that all clocks would move ahead one hour at 2 a.m. on March 31, 1918. Interestingly enough, the initiation of DST ended in 1920.
Daylight Savings Time did not resume until after the attack on Pearl Harbor. With World War II beginning, DST was not imposed again until after December 7, 1941. Many states adopted the idea but there was inconsistency as dates of when DST began and ended. This was ultimately decided by the individual states. To clear up the inconsistency, United States Congress approved a bill in 1986 to increase the period of DST. The current Daylight Savings Time period was not established until the approval of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007.
Information obtained from Almanac.com also showed that, today, most Americans spring forward (turn clocks ahead and lose an hour) on the second Sunday in March, at 2 a.m. and fall back (turn clocks back and gain an hour) on the first Sunday in November, at 2 a.m.
Many individuals would prefer to discontinue the practice of DST. According to data from almanac.com, as of 2021, 33 states have proposed bills to end the practice of switching clocks. However, federal law would need to adjust The Uniform Time Act to make this happen.