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Spring Forward!! But Why?

Don't forget to adjust your clocks!

Daylight Saving Time is now used in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over one billion people every year. The beginning and end dates vary from one country to another. Although modern DST has only been used for about 100 years, ancient civilizations are known to have engaged in comparable practices thousands of years ago. For example, the Roman water clocks used different scales for different months of the year to adjust the daily schedules to the solar time.


If you think Daylight Saving Time is a good idea, thank New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson and British builder William Willett. In 1895, Hudson presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society, proposing a 2-hour shift forward in October and a 2-hour shift back in March. There was interest in the idea, but it was never followed through He proposed the two-hour time shift so he'd have more time after work to go bug hunting in summer.


In 1905, independently from Hudson, British builder William Willett picked up on the idea and suggested setting the clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and switching them back by the same amount on each of the four Sundays in September, a total of eight time switches per year.


Willett’s Daylight Saving plan caught the attention of the British Member of Parliament Robert Pearce who introduced a bill to the House of Commons in February 1908. The first Daylight Saving Bill was drafted in 1909, presented to Parliament several times and examined by a select committee. However, the idea was opposed by many, especially farmers, so the bill was never made into a law. In 1916, two years into World War 1, the German government started brainstorming ways to save energy. they remembered Willett's idea and implemented it. Soon England and almost every other country that fought in World War I followed suit.


Willett died in 1915, the year before the United Kingdom started using DST in May 1916. It is not known if he was aware that his idea had become a reality seven years prior to his death in a small town in Ontario. The US started using Daylight Savings Time on March 9th, 1918!



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