When Was Daylight Saving Time First Used?

Daylight Saving Time was first proposed in the United Kingdom, but Germany was the first country to actually put the concept into practice. The Germans enacted a form of DST in 1916 in order to conserve electricity during World War I. A few weeks later, Britain followed suit, introducing “summer time.”

Englishman William Willett had the first brainstorm about changing clocks at certain times of the year. In 1905, he suggested the UK should move its clocks forward 80 minutes between April and October, so more people could bask in more sunshine. Year after year, the British Parliament rejected the idea, and Willett died a year before action was taken.

Here comes the sun (and fun)

  • Benjamin Franklin sometimes gets credit for the idea of DST. His writing reveals he suggested changing sleep and work schedules – not clocks – to make better use of the day’s sunshine, and reduce the cost of candle use
  • In the US, not all states participate in the time change. Residents of Hawaii and most of Arizona do not change their clocks, and some Amish communities don’t participate. The US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands also remain on standard time all year
  • DST advocates have touted energy conservation as a benefit, but studies have found that increased air conditioning use outweighs any savings from reduced use of electric lighting. In addition, more fun in the sun time leads to higher gasoline consumption

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