Are you a fan of Daylight Saving Time or against the idea? Regardless of your opinion on the matter, it is used by a number of countries all over the world. We have decided to help you learn what Daylight Saving Time really is, why it was invented, and who invented it? One form or another of DST has been used ever since the Ancient Romans. However, it was officially adopted by the UK and Germany much later.
The very first recorded proponent of what has come to be known as Daylight Saving Time was a British tradesman known by the name of William Willett. The idea came to him while he was on an early morning horseback ride on the London’s outskirts in 1905. It was during this ride that he had an epiphany that people in the United Kingdom will be able to enjoy more sunlight given that they moved their clocks 80-minutes forward between April and October. His thoughts were published in a brochure, ‘The Waste of Daylight’, in 1907.
The inspiration for his idea was the observation that he made; despite the full rising of the sun, all of the blinds of the nearby houses were still shut closed. He suggested advancing the clocks by 20 minutes every Sunday in April and then reversing the procedure during September of every year. He wrote in the pamphlet, ‘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.’
William also made use of his personal fortune for spreading his idea. He was a fierce advocate for ‘Summer Time’ and started to lobby the British Government. Robert Pearce (who became a Sir later) introduced the bill to the House of Commons in 1909. The bill was rejected, and its iterations continued to be rejected on the grounds of farming interests. William Willet passed away in 1915 at the age of 58 – only a year later his idea was implemented in the United Kingdom.
Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay in 1784 that was titled ‘An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light’. Benjamin was 78 years old and was an American envoy to France in Paris. He was woken up at 6 am one morning rather rudely, and this led him to write the famous essay on the matter. Franklin calculated, after some careful thought, that the Parisians would be able to save $200 million per year (in current currency) via candle burning if they were able to change their sleeping patterns.
The essay was, in all honesty, partly satirical but has since then been used as a piece of evidence for claiming that Benjamin Franklin invented Daylight Saving Time. In reality, he had only suggested to sleep at a different time, not change the time itself. Although William Willet’s idea of ‘Summer Time’ was finally implemented in 1916, Britain was not the first country to implement Daylight Saving Time. In fact, it was Germany who implemented this idea first.
The justification was economical. In 1916, Germany introduced Daylight Saving Time as an attempt to save electricity and for helping with the war effort. Austria and Germany introduced DST on April 30th, 1916. United Kingdom Parliament introduced DST a few weeks later. This was temporary though, and most of the countries reverted to standard time after the First World War. However, DST came back to stay during World War II.
The first country to implement DST was, however, Canada. A small town, Port Arthur, Ontario, was the first to implement DST in July of 1908. Other parts of Canada began to do the same, and in April of 1914, Regina in Saskatchewan implemented DST.
The modern or current Daylight Saving Time is actually not that old – only a little over 100 years old actually. According to estimates, about 1 billion people are affected by DST every year, but the beginning and the end dates of DST differ throughout the world.