I say it is impossible that so sensible a people [citizens of Paris], under such circumstances, should have lived so long by the smoky, unwholesome, and enormously expensive light of candles, if they had really known that they might have had as much pure light of the sun for nothing. Benjamin Franklin, US Founding Father (1706-1790)
You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe “Daylight Saving Time.” Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize winning American author and columnist (b. 1947)
Every year the same question rolls around: Why do we move our clocks around twice a year? What’s the big deal? Daylight saving time has come again and we have sprung forward one more hour giving our biological clocks some adjusting to do over the next few weeks. But no matter how many times we change time…no matter really knows where it got all started…
According to my research, the first person to think of saving more daylight (probably a night owl) was Benjamin Franklin. He was inspired to write an essay called An Economical Project while sojourning in Paris as an American delegate. He probably was so taken by the city of lights (some say ‘light’ as a more accurate translation) that he wanted to enjoy more of it in the evenings.
Then in 1907 a London builder William Willett took the idea up again in his pamphlet Waste of Daylight. He 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.”
Actually the U.S. Department of Transportation proved that most Americans appreciated Daylight Saving Time because “there is more light in the evenings / can do more in the evenings.” People usually attribute the institution of Daylight Saving Time to saving energy although many studies have shown that the savings are minimal. It probably all boils down to the fact that people, like me, look forward to enjoying long spring and warm summer evenings after a long winter’s work schedule. It’s nice to get home from work and feel that you’ve still got a few hours left to enjoy the day. So what is it with Daylight Saving Time? Watch the following video from HBO (US Cable Channel Home Box Office) to understand better why people get so worked up at this time of the year: