It’s that time of year again. On Sunday, November 5, we get a whole extra hour added to our day. Thereafter, our mornings become brighter, but our afternoon light becomes shorter.
Initially implemented as a temporary energy-saving measure during World War I, this time-tampering practice boasts its roots in a tongue-in-cheek essay penned by Ben Franklin in 1784. Noting that most Parisians failed to wake before noon, Franklin, writing to the Journal of Paris simply as “a subscriber,” descried the great volumes of money wasted on candles burned during evening hours. Money he determined could easily be saved – not by tampering with time, but by forcing people to wake up earlier! Among other things, he recommended that:
1. tax penalties be assessed against individuals who failed to open their shutters at sunrise
2. candle wax purchases be regulated and confined to one pound per family per week
3. a curfew be instituted, banning all street activity after sunset; and
4. cannons be fired in all streets at sunrise every morning to “wake the sluggards.”
Tampering with time certainly seems a much gentler solution!
Even so, today, rationale for government-imposed time shifts remains murky. So murky in fact that Tufts University Professor Michael Downing wrote a whole book about it. As Mr. Downing explains in Spring Forward – The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, the confusion about Daylight Saving Time is “worldwide.” Trying to address this confusion, Downing found a “quick search” of the Web made it perfectly clear that:
Daylight Saving as we practice it in the United States began in World War I, World War II, in the early years of the American intervention in Vietnam, at the height of the energy crisis of the early 1970s, or during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. It was first proposed by a Pittsburgh industrialist, Woodrow Wilson, a man on a horse in London, a Manhattan socialite, Benjamin Franklin, one of the Caesars, or the anonymous makers of ancient Chinese water clocks.
Not a body to ever stand idly by as the world turns smoothly, the US Congress has repeatedly assured that time shift requirements remain inconsistent. To wit:
1. First passed in 1918, Congress repealed the Daylight Saving plan in 1919, only to resuscitate it in 1942.
2. The US endured year-long Daylight Savings from 1942 to 1945, and then again in 1974.
3. The system of beginning Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 AM on the first Sunday in April and ending it at 2:00 AM on the last Sunday in October was not standardized until 1986.
4. And the rules changed again in 2007.
5. Daylight Saving Time now begins on the second Sunday of March and ends the first Sunday in November.
This, and much more information about this time conundrum, can be found at this excellent and superbly informative website.
To make matters even more muddled, the implementation of a time change is largely a state-by-state decision. Arizona, for example does not observe Daylight Saving time – although the Navajo Nation in the state does. And Massachusetts has seriously weighed the idea of observing Daylight Saving time year-round.
Frustrated and confused? You’re not the only one. People have complained – and filed lawsuits. But the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1926 that states would do what they want with the time of their citizens.
Of course, the bottom line for you is that you need to spend more time under artificial light to stave off the shadows of those soon-to-be shorter afternoons. Thankfully, this no longer means that you have to spend more money to light your home. Tesla light bulbs from Finally are energy efficient and guaranteed to last. What’s even better is their warm glow – our light bulbs produce a unique light spectrum that LED and other lighting technologies cannot, resulting in a better quality of light, revealing whiter whites and brighter colors.
So, don’t despair. When Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 5 at 1:00 AM, enjoy that extra hour of sleep (or activity of your choice), embrace a sunny morning and enjoy the warm glow of Tesla light bulbs during those longer evenings. And remember, as draconian as it may feel, moving the clock an hour sure beats being woken by cannon every morning!
Purchase your Tesla light bulbs now.