“Fall Back” This Sunday, Nov. 4

Saturday night before going to bed, we once again set our clocks back one hour bringing an end to Daylight Savings Time for 2018.

The good news of course is that this “Fall back” one hour gives us an extra hour sleep and the kids go to school when its light out. The bad news is we lose our evenings to darkness. Dig out and dust off the therapy light.

As we know, the main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called “Summer Time” in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay, “An Economical Project.” Not much was done with the idea until more than a century later when, in April of 1916 during World War I, Germany and Austria began saving an hour of daylight by advancing the hands of the clock one hour until the following October. The extended hour of light was designed to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power.

Other countries quickly followed with the U.S. formally adopting “An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States” in 1918. But in the predominantly agricultural society at that time, people generally rose earlier in the morning and went to bed earlier in the evening. The Act was wildly unpopular and it was soon repealed in 1919.

During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, calling it “War Time”. Afterwards, 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 a lot of confusion, especially for businesses based on scheduling such as the broadcasting industry, railways, airlines, and bus companies.

President Nixon federally standardized the practice during the energy crisis of the 70’s by signing into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973. There were a couple of amended tweeks to the law, but in 2007, the legislature determined Daylight Savings time would:

  • begin at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March, and
  • end at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

Observance of Daylight Savings Time continues to be a worldwide practice with highly variable start and end dates.

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