1935 photograph of Robert Garland, Pittsburgh City Councilman (City Council President in 1934) and business leader, considered the "Father of Daylight Saving Time". (Image Sources: Archives and Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System and WPXI-TV 11, Pittsburgh)
By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower
This is the time when most Americans will be advancing their clocks by one hour (except for computerized clocks which advance automatically) in the annual “Spring-Forward” exercise to accommodate Daylight Saving Time, in 48 of America's 50 states. However, several states are considering abandoning Daylight Saving Time, while a few states are even considering moving to a different time-zone, year-round! And, the Federal Government is, again, studying the question of Daylight Saving Time.
The change from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time officially occurs on Sunday, 2022 March 13, at 2:00 a.m. Local Prevailing Time, that is Standard Time in the respective time zone. Official time then becomes 3:00 a.m. Daylight Saving Time for the respective time zone.
This is almost exactly a week before the Vernal Equinox, the beginning of the season of Spring on Sunday. 2022 March 20 at 11:33 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 15:33 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Also, note that, officially, there is no letter “s” after the letter “g” in the word “Saving”, when used in “Daylight Saving Time”.
In many cases, people will advance their clocks by one hour before going to bed Saturday night, unless they choose to advance their clocks as soon as they rise from bed Sunday morning. And, there are always some who forget (and who may be late to church) or procrastinate and need to change their clocks once they remember later on Sunday.
Today, often computers, digital wrist-watches, portable and mobile telephones, video cassette recorders, and so-called "atomic" clocks [clocks which receive radio signals calibrated by atomic clocks operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology via their radio station WWVB (LW)] will automatically switch between Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time. However, if the digital device was manufactured before 2007, the device may make the switch on the wrong dates—that is, the dates which were the authorized time conversion dates before the law was changed in 2007.
Since 2007, the last time the law changed, clocks in America have advanced an hour on the second Sunday of March (previously, the first Sunday in April) and returned ("Fall-Back") to Standard Time on the first Sunday in November (previously, the last Sunday in October). This year, clocks will return to Standard Time on Sunday, 2022 November 6, when 2:00 a.m. Daylight Saving Time will become 1:00 a.m. Standard Time.
The states of Hawaii and Arizona do not observe Daylight Saving Time, except for some Native American nation reservations in Arizona.
Until 2006 April 2, most of the state of Indiana also did not observe Daylight Saving Time. However, there was confusion when certain counties in the state decided to accept Daylight Saving Time. The state legislature put an end to the confusion when a 2005 bill passed ensuring that all Indiana counties would observe Daylight Saving Time, regardless of whether the county was in the Eastern or Central time zone.
Several American territories also do not observe Daylight Saving Time. This includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (actually located in the Atlantic Time Zone), Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands of the United States, American Samoa, and Guam.
March 13 is also the conclusion to the annual National Sleep Awareness Week. Sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation, this week highlights the importance of people getting enough sleep each night. And, this is particularly important when the last day of this week occurs on the day clocks are advanced an hour, with the possibility that people may lose an hour of sleep if they do not plan for getting an additional hour of sleep that night.
And, it is strongly suggested to use the twice-a-year time change to check, and possibly replace, batteries in vital warning instruments such as smoke / fire detectors / alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors / alarms, and NOAA Weather / Hazard Alarm Radios (and / or other portable, transistor radios used to obtain weather broadcasts and other emergency news and information).
Although it may seem odd to have such an official time change occur at an hour when most people are asleep, there is a logical reason for the 2:00 time for the change to occur. With fewer people awake, and few important events occurring at 2:00 in the morning, this time change can happen fairly seamlessly, with no major activities being adversely affected. Although 12:00 Midnight may seem like a more logical time for such a change, more people are awake, and more activities are still happening, at Midnight, particularly on a Saturday night / Sunday morning.
Brief History of Daylight Saving Time
Instigated by the railroads to simplify passenger schedules and avoid governmental regulation, five American and Canadian time zones were established on Sunday, 1883 November 18 at 12:00 Noon Eastern Time. Technological advances of the era, such as the telegraph and the transit-telescope, allowed Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory to provide the railroads with precise time for the new time zones. The “Allegheny Time” system, developed by Allegheny Observatory Director Samuel Pierpont Langley in 1869, was the first regular and systematic system of time distribution to railroads and cities; within a year, Allegheny Time extended over 2,500 miles to 300 telegraph offices.
However, time zones are fairly large, meaning that sunrise and sunset occurs at significantly different times for a town on the eastern edge of a time zone and one on the western edge of the same time zone. In the early 20th century, some people wanted to provide more daylight in the evening hours during the Summer months and proposed to advance all clocks by one hour for “Daylight Saving Time.”
Actually, changing daily habits to take advantage of more daylight during the Summer months was first proposed by Pennsylvania's 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. Although, it should be noted that he did not actually propose a plan similar to the Daylight Saving Time we know today.
Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist and a member of the Pittsburgh City Council for 28 years (1911 to 1939), is considered the “Father of Daylight Saving,” as he chaired the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's national “Special Committee on Daylight Saving.” He fought hard for the establishment of Summer Daylight Saving Time.
It was not until 1918, shortly after the United States entered World War I, that U.S. President Woodrow Wilson instituted the Daylight Saving plan to help the War effort. However farmers, who use sunrise and sunset cycles to care for their crops and farm animals, hated Daylight Saving Time.
Spurned by farmers and other agricultural interests, the U.S. Congress repealed the Daylight Saving Time plan seven months later. However, several cities including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York City continued using Daylight Saving Time during the Summer months.
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt resurrected Daylight Saving Time as “War Time” for the duration of World War II. However, after the War, Daylight Saving Time did not become Federal law during peace time until the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was enacted. Hawaii never observed Daylight Saving Time while Arizona (except some tribal nations in the state) opted-out in 1968. Most of Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time until 2006; now the entire state observes it.
To reduce energy consumption during the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, year-round Daylight Saving Time was established in the United States beginning on 1974 January 6. However, many mothers were quite upset that this meant that their children had to travel to school, or wait for the school bus, during the dark early mornings 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, Congress did not renew year-round Daylight Saving Time, and this plan expired on 1975 February 23.
The start and end dates for Daylight Saving Time have varied, over the decades, as the U.S. Congress tried to find the correct balance for the time change. The most recent change came in 2007, when the start time for Daylight Saving Time was moved to the second Sunday in March. The end date was also moved, to the first Sunday in November. The November date was chosen to provide a little more daylight in the evening for trick-or-treating children on Halloween. Had Congress delayed the end of Daylight Saving Time one more week, to the second Sunday in November, this could have allowed a little more daylight in the evening, each year, for people traveling to the election polls on the General Election Day (scheduled for the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, each year); with the current system, only occasionally will General Election Day occur before the return to Standard Time.
The Future of Daylight Saving Time ?
Now, several states have proposed ending Daylight Saving Time altogether. And, there are even some states such as Alaska and some New England states which wish to join a different time zone, along with eliminating Daylight Saving Time.
Several New England states are considering seceding from the Eastern Time Zone to the Atlantic Time Zone, which is currently used by most of the Maritime Provinces of Canada as well as the American Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. By moving to the Atlantic Time Zone, these states would be observing the equivalent of Eastern Daylight Saving Time, year-round.
Connecticut, which is home to a lot of people who commute each weekday to New York City, would probably stay in the Eastern Time Zone along with New York State.
And, Alaska is considering moving to the Pacific Time Zone, abandoning its own Alaska Time Zone. As in New England, this would have the effect of having Alaska Daylight Saving Time year-round in Alaska. Of course the Alaska Time Zone would remain, as one of the world's 24 time zones, but it is unclear what it would be called if Alaska moved to the Pacific Time Zone.
This-past Wednesday (2022 March 9), the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, held a public hearing on the annual “Spring-Forward / Fall-Back” ritual. While most people testified against the annual twice-a-year time change, there was no consensus regarding what action should be taken. Some people wanted year-round Daylight Saving Time, while others prefer year-round Standard Time. After the hearing, Committee Chair Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) requested the U.S. Department of Transportation, which enforces the 1966 Federal Uniform Time Act, provide an analysis of the annual time changes (analysis originally requested by Congress in 2018, but never issued).
Many of the advocates of ending Daylight Saving Time cite several studies that show that advancing the clock adversely affects people's health, including more heart attacks, traffic accidents, and workplace injuries. Economists say that there is no real economic reason for Daylight Saving Time, save for the possible reduction in energy usage; although, they say this reduction is not definitive. If the energy savings caused by Daylight Saving Time was significant in past decades, they say that the advancement of technology and the change in lifestyle habits negates most such energy savings today.
Abandonment of Daylight Saving Time, and particularly changing time zones, by several states will have an affect on national transportation and communication networks. Amtrak rail, Greyhound bus, and airline schedules will have to be changed and adapted in the states where such changes take place. National radio and television network schedules may have to be adapted, otherwise New England may receive programs an hour later than their normal Eastern Time Zone broadcast.
Federal law does allow states to exempt themselves from Daylight Saving Time, as Hawaii and Arizona already do. Changing time zones is another matter. Approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Congress would be required if a state wished to change time zones.
Some economists doubt Daylight Saving Time will ever be completely eliminated, due to the influence of special interests (particularly the travel, transportation, and communication industries) as well as Americans favoring long, sunny Summer nights. However, there is no doubt the debate regarding Daylight Saving Time will continue.
Internet Links to Additional Information ---
Robert Garland and the establishment of Daylight Saving Time:
Daylight Saving Time:
Link 1 >>> https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/
Uniform Time: Link >>> https://www.transportation.gov/regulations/time-act
Uniform Time Act of 1966: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Time_Act
Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/08/centennial-new-allegheny-observatory.html
Smithsonian Institution Secretary & Allegheny Observatory Director Samuel Pierpont Langley:
Benjamin Franklin's Ideas Regarding "Daylight Saving":
March 9 U.S. House Public Hearing on Daylight Saving Time:
Related Blog-Posts ---
"Some States to Abandon Daylight Saving Time ?" Sun., 2016 March 13.
Daylight Saving Time Begins Sunday 2:00 a.m." Sat., 2014 March 8.
Friday, 2022 March 11.
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Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator &
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Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: Link >>> http://www.planetarium.cc Buhl Observatory: Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-americas-5th-public.html
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* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>> http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc