|From left to right, Scout, |
I had researched the concept (hoping to gain some understanding of the whacky time adjustment) a few years ago and thought this would be a great time to share what I’d learned with my loyal blog readers.
The idea of daylight savings was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784. Parisian culture required late bedtimes (hours past midnight), and yet the bright morning rays of sun shone through his window at six a.m. the next day when Franklin would have preferred to sleep until noon. “Wasted daylight,” he’d concluded, and set to work calculating the amount of candle wax unnecessarily expended with this habit. On the assumption that 100,000 Parisian families burned half a pound of candles per hour for an average of seven hours per day (the average time for the summer months between dusk and the supposed bedtime of Parisians), the account would stand thus:
183 nights between 20 March and 20 September times 7 hours per night of candle usage equals 1,281 hours for a half year of candle usage. Multiplying by 100,000 families gives 128,100,000 hours by candlelight. Each candle requires half a pound of tallow and wax, thus a total of 64,050,000 pounds. At a price of thirty sols per pound of tallow and wax, the total sum comes to 96,075,000 livre tournois. An immense sum.
Over the next two-and-a-half centuries, the concept of daylight savings (otherwise known as Summer Hours in other parts of the world) has gone in and out of favor. There have always been proponents, touting the energy saved, and the opponents, saying that if people want to enjoy daylight they should just get out of bed an hour earlier each day. Not only is it disruptive to schedules (and anyone who has children or animals who don’t grasp the concept, this can be an incredibly frustrating semi-annual transition), there is some evidence that the number of auto accidents increase the week after a change as people adjust to the new light levels during their commute.
In the United States, daylight savings time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November, with the changeover occurring at 2 a.m. local time. Not all places in the U.S. observe daylight time. In particular, Hawaii and most of Arizona do not use it. Indiana adopted its use beginning in 2006.
Things could be worse…during World War II, England practiced a Double Summer Hours, moving their clocks ahead two hours.
I’ll be up at four in the morning with the pups. Who will be joining me?