Here's Why We Have Daylight Saving Time to Begin With

This is the 100th year people in the United States will be losing an hour of sleep on Sunday.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Daylight saving time may not be the one holiday you're most looking forward to, but this year the holiday celebrates its 100th year.

This year, you'll set your clock forward one hour before heading to bed on Saturday night.

The original idea of daylight saving time originated from Benjamin Franklin in 1784. He described his idea in his essay, "An Economical Project." By advocating for daylight saving time, he did not practice what he preached of "early to bed, early to rise."

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A London builder, William Willett, was the first one to seriously advocate Franklin's idea in his pamphlet, "Waste of Daylight." He proposed advancing clocks 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and delaying them by the same amount on four Sundays in September.

In his pamphlet, Willett wrote, "Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shortage as Autumn approaches; and everyone has given utterance to regret that the clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used."

One year following Willett's advocating and lobbying for daylight saving time, Sir Robert Pearce introduced a bill in the House of Commons to make it mandatory to adjust the clocks.

The bill was passed in 1916, but a majority of the public opposed it. Lord Balfour expressed his unique concerns, "Supposing some unfortunate lady was confined with twins and one child was born 10 minutes before 1 o'clock...the time of birth of the two children would be reversed...Such an alteration might conceivably affect the property and titles in that House."

Germany was the first country to enact daylight saving time during World War I. The United Kingdom soon followed suit and introduced "summer time." To read more interesting historical facts about daylight saving time, click here.

Daylight saving time was put into affect in the U.S. in 1918 during World War I as well, using it in an effort to preserve coal. The time shift, which is regulated now by the U.S. Department of Transportation, happens on the second Sunday in March and will end - or "fall back" as its commonly referred to - on the first Sunday in November.

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Two states that don't observe daylight saving time are Arizona and Hawaii. There's also been a push in recent years to do away with it in California.

If a state chooses to observe daylight saving time, its for several reasons according to the U.S. Department of Transportation:

  • The time change saves energy. The sun sets one hour later in the evenings, so the need to use electricity for household lighting and appliances is reduced. Because the sunrise is very early in the morning during the summer months, most people will wake after the sun has already risen, which means they will turn on fewer lights in their homes.
  • It saves lives and prevents traffic injuries. During Daylight Saving Time, more people travel to and from school and work and complete errands during the daylight.
  • It reduces crime. During Daylight Saving Time, more people are out conducting their affairs during the daylight rather than at night, when more crime occurs.