Saturday, March 31, 2018

Centennial: U.S. Daylight Saving Time Commences

Robert Garland
In this 1935 July 8 photograph, the "Father of Daylight Saving" in America,
Robert Garland, is sworn-in as a member of Pittsburgh City Council. Robert
Garland is pictured on the right, being sworn-in by Pittsburgh Mayor William
McNair on the left; an unidentified man, perhaps the President of City Council,
is shown in the middle.
(Image Source: Historic Pittsburgh Internet web-site, Pittsburgh City Photographer
Collection, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Library System)                                        

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Today (March 31) marks the centennial of the first day Daylight Saving Time was observed in the United States. In 1918, Daylight Saving Time began on the last Sunday of March, March 31 at 2:00 a.m. Standard Time and concluded on the last Sunday in October, October 27 at 2:00 a.m. Daylight Saving Time. Of course this year, 2018, Daylight Saving Time began on the second Sunday of March, March 11 and ends on the first Sunday in November, November 4.

Due to the need to save energy in order to increase production as the United States entered World War I, the U.S. Standard Time Act of 1918 included a provision for Daylight Saving Time (note that there is no letter “s” at the end of the word “Saving”) during the warmer-weather months of the year. This was the first time the United States had instituted Daylight Saving Time since something similar was first suggested by American Envoy to France, Benjamin Franklin (publisher of the old English proverb "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise").

Changing daily habits to take advantage of more daylight during the Summer months was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, while he was a diplomat in Paris. In an anonymous letter that was published, he used satire to suggest that it would be better to use the sunlight of the morning rather than to waste candles in the evening. His essay, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” written to the editor of The Journal of Paris, was actually penned partially in-jest; hence, nothing came of the idea. Although, it should be noted that he did not actually propose a plan similar to the Daylight Saving Time we know today.

A New Zealand entomologist, George Hudson, first proposed the type of Daylight Saving Time we know today. Although, in an 1895 paper presented before the Wellington Philosophical Society, he proposed a two-hour time shift during the Summer months. However, New Zealand did not establish Daylight Saving Time until 1927.

Independently, British builder and outdoors-man William Willett conceived Daylight Saving Time in 1905, an idea he published in 1907. British Liberal Party Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Pearce submitted legislation in the House of Commons regarding Mr. Willett's idea in 1908. Although a Select Committee was set-up to study the idea, and Mr. Willett continued lobbying in favor of the proposal, none of the proposed laws passed before Mr. Willett died in 1915.

From 1911 to 1912, Daylight Saving Time was introduced in the municipality of Orillia, Ontario, Canada, by the town's mayor, William Sword Frost.

The German and the Austria-Hungary empires were the first countries to establish Daylight Saving Time for the Summer (May through October), as a way to save coal during World War I, on 1916 April 30 at 11:00 p.m. Standard Time. The countries of Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, and Tasmania did the same, at the same time, as well as the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Manitoba. Great Britain did like-wise three weeks later on 1916 May 21, followed by Russia, Australia, and Newfoundland (then a Dominion of the British Empire, separate from Canada) in 1917.

Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist (who ran a Pittsburgh factory, Garland Nuts and Rivets) and a member of the Pittsburgh City Council for 28 years (1911 to 1939), is considered the “Father of Daylight Saving” in America. He was also President of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, as well chairing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's national “Special Committee on Daylight Saving.” He fought hard for the establishment of Summer Daylight Saving Time.

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed-into law, on 1918 March 19, the Standard Time Act of 1918, also known as the Calder Act, which established official time zones in the United States, including a provision for Daylight Saving Time. Although time zones had been unofficially observed for a few decades.

The American and Canadian railroads had established five unofficial time zones for the North American continent on 1883 November 18, precisely at 12:00 Noon from a time signal issued by telegraph from Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory. This was possible after Allegheny Observatory, under the supervision of the Western University of Pennsylvania Astronomy Professor Samuel Pierpont Langley, started determining and disseminating precise time in 1869. The Allegheny Observatory's time service is considered the first regular and systematic system of time distribution to railroads and cities, as well as the origin of the modern Standard Time system.

America's first experiment with Daylight Saving Time did not last long. Farmers (whose farm animals, of course, paid no attention to Daylight Saving Time) and other agricultural interests were vehemently opposed to the new Summer time system.

With the end of World War I (the original rationale for Daylight Saving Time), and strong lobbying against “Summer time” or “fast time,” the U.S. Congress repealed the plan seven months later in 1919, over a veto by President Wilson. However, several cities including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York City continued using Daylight Saving Time during the Summer months. Daylight Saving Time was resurrected as “War Time” during World War II (in effect 1942 February 9 through 1945 September 30), also to save energy during the War.

After the Second World War, some cities and states continued using Daylight Saving Time, but often the beginning and ending of Daylight Saving Time was not consistent from one state or town to another. In the early 1960s, a transportation industry Committee for Time Uniformity found that, over a 35-mile stretch of highway (West Virginia Route 2) between Moundsville, West Virginia and Steubenville, Ohio, seven time-zone changes had to be endured by each bus driver and bus passenger!

The Federal Uniform Time Act of 1966 (enacted 1966 April 13) solved this problem by prescribing the start and end times of Daylight Saving Time, for those states which chose to participate. The law established that Daylight Saving Time would begin each year at 2:00 a.m. Standard Time on the last Sunday in April through 2:00 a.m. Daylight Saving Time on the last Sunday in October. The law first took effect in 1967, except in the states of Arizona (not including some tribal nations in the state which did observe Daylight Saving Time) and Michigan, which chose not to participate.

In 1972, Congress amended the law to allow states, which include two or more time zones, to exempt one (or more) of the state's time zones from Daylight Saving Time. Previously, the state legislature could only exempt the entire state from Daylight Saving Time. From then on, most counties in the Eastern Time Zone section of the state of Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time, while most counties in the Central Time Zone did shift their clocks twice a year. However, beginning in April of 2006, all counties in Indiana now observe Daylight Saving Time.

To reduce energy consumption during the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, year-round Daylight Saving Time was established by the U.S. Congress in the United States from 1974 January 6 to 1975 October 26. However, many mothers were quite upset that this meant that their children had to travel to school during the dark, early-morning hours in the Winter months. Thousands of these mothers (including the author's mother, Eleanor A. Walsh) wrote letters to their representatives in Congress complaining about this.

After receiving thousands of letters from angry mothers, in October of 1974 Congress amended the law to return to Standard Time from 1974 October 27 until 1975 February 23 when Daylight Saving Time resumed. And, when the trial period ended on 1975 October 26, year-round Daylight Saving Time ended, and the normal Summer Daylight Saving Time resumed.

In 1986, Daylight Saving Time was extended to include most of the month of April, by starting on the first Sunday in April beginning in 1987. The end-date remained the last Sunday in October.

Congressional passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended Daylight Saving Time again, starting in 2007. Now, Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday of March and reverts to Standard Time on the first Sunday in November.

One of the major reasons to extend Daylight Saving Time an extra week in the Autumn, to the first Sunday in November, was to allow greater daylight in the evening on October 31, to improve safety for children trick-or-treating on Halloween. However, had they extended Daylight Saving Time two extra weeks in the Autumn, to the second Sunday in November, this would have allowed more daylight in the evening on General Election Day (statutorily set as "the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November" or "the first Tuesday after November 1"), which could improve safety that evening, and potentially boost voter participation. Gee, I wonder why the politicians did not think of that ? !

Daylight Saving Time is now observed in all U.S. states except Arizona (as the Navajo Indian Reservation extends into Utah and New Mexico, Daylight Saving Time is observed; the Hopi Indian Reservation, completely within Arizona, does not observe Daylight Saving Time) and Hawaii. All U.S. insular territories with civilian government (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), which lie in the tropics (and hence, have more daylight year-round and less variation in daylight throughout the year) do not observe Daylight Saving Time. The District of Columbia does observe Daylight Saving Time.

In Canada, all provinces observe Daylight Saving Time except Saskatchewan (there are certain towns and / or limited areas in Saskatchewan which do observe Daylight Saving Time). In the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, and the territory of Nunavut, most of the jurisdiction observes Daylight Saving Time, except for certain towns and / or limited areas.

This blog-post is posted on 2018 March 31 at 3:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT), exactly one hundred years from the commencement of Daylight Saving Time in the Eastern Time Zone (the first U.S. time zone to initiate Daylight Saving Time), on 1918 March 31 at 2:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) / 7:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which, for the first time, became 3:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

U.S. Daylight Saving Time:
Link 1 >>>
Link 2 (USA) >>>
Link 3 (U.S. law) >>>
Link 4 (Canada) >>>
Link 5 (World-Wide) >>>

Uniform Time Act of 1966: Link >>> 

Map - North American Time Zones:
Link >>>

Map of the time zones in the Eastern United States, when the State of Ohio was in 2 time zones (this map is posted on the bulletin board of the Allegheny Observatory Library):
Link >>>
(Image Source: Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University & former Planetarium & Observatory Lecturer at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science)

Standard Time Act of 1918: Link >>>

Allegheny Observatory, Pittsburgh ---
Link 1 >>>
Link 2 >>>

Samuel Pierpont Langley: Link >>>
Photo of S.P. Langley:
Link >>>

Robert Garland: Link >>>

Related Blog Posts ---

"Centennial: Official Enactment of U.S. Time Zones & Daylight Saving Time."

2018 March 19.

Link >>>

"Some States to Abandon Daylight Saving Time ?" 2016 March 13.

Link >>>


"Centennial: New Allegheny Observatory Dedication." 2012 Aug. 28.

Link >>>


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2018 March 31.

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