NEWBERRY — Sunday morning, most of Newberry County will set their clocks ahead one hour in an effort to spring forward for daylight saving time. Although it seems simple enough, there are still misconceptions around today about daylight saving time and its history.
Benjamin Franklin has often been given the credit for the invention of daylight saving time, but it was actually Englishman William Willett who led the first campaign to implement the time changes, according to the History Channel.
In 1784, at the age of 78, Franklin was enjoying a stay in Paris, when he was awakened at 6 a.m. by the summer sun, which inspired him to write an essay in which he tried to encourage the Parisians that by simply waking up at dawn each day, they could save the modern-day equivalent of $200 million because they would be using sunshine instead of candles.
The History Channel states that in 1905, it was Willett that had an epiphany while riding horses in London when he thought the United Kingdom should move its clocks forward by 80 minutes between April and October so that more people could enjoy the sunlight.
Willett published a brochure in 1907 entitled “The Waste of Daylight,” spending most of his life try to adopt the new time zones, but unfortunately died in 1915 at age 58 without seeing his idea come to life.
Finally with the start of World War I, Willett’s dream became a reality on April 30, 1916 when Germany became the first country to embrace daylight saving time to conserve electricity. Weeks after this, the United Kingdom followed and introduced “summer time.”
Agrarian interests led to a fight in 1919 to repeal of national daylight saving time with passed when Congress overruled President Woodrow Wilson’s veto.
Rather than rural interests, it has been urban entities such as retail outlets and recreational businesses that have championed daylight saving over the decades, the History Channel’s website states.
After the repeal in 1919, New York City and Chicago, along with other states and cities continued to shift their clocks. The National daylight saving time returned during World War II, until another repeal was made after the war’s end.
At this time, states and localities could start and end daylight saving time whenever they pleased, which Time magazine described in 1963 as “a chaos of clocks.”
The History Channel states that order finally returned in 1966 with the enactment of the Uniform Time Act which standardized daylight saving time.
So on Sunday, March 9, be prepared to spring forward your clocks an hour so as not to have a chaos of clocks throughout downtown Newberry.
Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108.