REMEMBER TO FALL BACK AND CHANGE YOUR CLOCKS TONIGHT AT 2 a.m. a little bit of history

Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends at exactly at 2:00 am on Nov 6th 2016 as the clocks go backward an hour to make it 1:00am.

The mornings will get lighter and the evenings darker and those living in participating states of the United States had an extra hour in bed

Several states and territories of the United States practice DST, which is the act of setting clocks one hour forward during the spring, and one hour back during the fall.

Daylight Saving Time occurs in many states and territories except Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Island. Utah is considering the ending its participation in DST also.

The end of Daylight Saving time in the US signals the onset of winter

During the nine years he spent as American ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light”. In it, he suggested people get up earlier to make better use of available light and save on candle wax.

Benjamin Franklin's first suggestion of a plan like Daylight Saving Time appeared in the Journal de Paris in 1784 in its “Economie” section.
Franklin’s first suggestion of a plan like Daylight Saving Time appeared in the Journal de Paris in 1784 in its “Economie” section CREDIT: WIKIMEDIA

But the idea really took off in 1907, when a man called William Willett introduced the idea of British Summer Time, also known as Daylight Saving Time, in 1907.

He wanted to prevent people from wasting valuable hours of light during summer mornings.

He published a pamphlet called ‘The Waste of Daylight’ in a bid to get people out of bed earlier by changing the nation’s clocks.

William Willett by Elliott & Fry
William Willett by Elliott & Fry CREDIT: NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY LONDON

Willett proposed that the clocks should be advanced by 80 minutes in four incremental steps during April and reversed during September.

Willett then spent the rest of his life trying to convince people his scheme was a good one.

Sadly, he died of the flu in 1915 at the age of 58; a year before Germany adopted his clock-changing plan on April 30, 1916 when the clocks were set forward at 11 pm. Britain followed suit a month later on May 21.

Willett's pamphlet
Willett’s pamphlet

By then Britain and Germany had been fighting each other in the First World War (1914-18), and a system that could take pressure off the economy was worth trying.

The Summer Time Act of 1916 was quickly passed by Parliament and the first day of British Summer Time, 21 May 1916, was widely reported in the press.

Back then the hands on many of the clocks could not be turned back without breaking the mechanism.

Instead, owners had to put the clock forward by 11 hours when Summer Time came to an end.

The Home Office put out special posters telling people how to reset their clocks to GMT, and national newspapers also gave advice.

Home Office poster announcing restoration of Greenwich Time, 1916   Photo: ©Private collection  
Home Office poster announcing restoration of Greenwich Time, 1916   Photo: ©Private collection  

The concept was brought to America by Robert Garland, a businessman from Pittsburgh who first came upon the idea in the UK.

The Coldplay Clocks Connection

Willett is a great-great-grandfather of Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin. This is Coldplay performing the song ‘Clocks’ from their 2002 album ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’. (There’s also a song called ‘Daylight’ on there.) Coincidence?

Why do we change the clocks every year?

Supporters for the proposal argued that such a scheme could reduce coal consumption and increase the supplies available for manufacturing and the war effort during the First World War.

The idea was not a new one, however.

In 1895 an entomologist (that’s an insect expert) in New Zealand, George Vernon Hudson, came up with the idea to the Wellington Philosophical Society outlining a daylight saving scheme which was trialled successfully in the country in 1927.