The earliest mention of a formal "changing of the clocks" goes
all the way back to the 1800s. Back then, an entomologist ("bug doctor") named
George Hudson wanted more time after work to gather bugs. Hence, in 1895 he
wrote a paper proposing the clocks move forward by two hours in the summer.
Surprisingly, people thought this was a good idea (he must have been quite the
The Englishman William Willett also proposed a summer clock
change in 1905. His proposal gained traction, and was taken up by a member of
parliament and the bill was introduced in 1908. The bill was ultimately
defeated, but Willett never gave up trying. He died without ever hearing the
common refrain "when do the clocks change??".
So initially the idea was not well received. But war has a way
of forcing unpopular ideas on the masses. And so it was that during World War I,
Germany and the Axis Powers began to use daylight savings time (Sommerzeit! =
summer time in German) to conserve resources, around 1916. That is, if the
people are awake during the day and asleep at night, they will need less heat
and lights, etc.
Apparently, the economics worked out and England and the
European allies took on the system. The United States decided it was worth doing
in 1918. And the rest is history.
March 9, 2014, please remember to SPRING forward and set those clocks ahead by one hour!
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