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Basking in the Sunlight: a Brief History of Daylight Saving Time


photo credit: tictac via photopin (license)

Spring forward, fall back… are you ready for Daylight Saving Time to come to an end in the USA and Canada on November 1st? When it does, we will lose that precious extra hour of sleep and start observing shorter daylight hours until next March. We may also have to manually adjust the time on some of our clocks, watches, or older appliances. The practice of Daylight Saving Time has been in place for nearly a hundred years. (Have you noticed that we’re saying Daylight Saving Time instead of Daylight Savings Time? Here’s why!) We’d like to share a little bit of history on how and why it first began and how it has affected businesses since then.


Daylight Saving Time was first proposed as far back as 1784, when Benjamin Franklin posited the idea in his essay titled “An Economical Project,” but it was only formally enacted in Germany in 1916 for the purpose of conserving electricity during World War I. Shortly after, the United Kingdom instituted what it called “summer time” with the same intent. The United States came aboard two years later, but then repealed its Daylight Saving Time laws soon afterward in the wake of immense opposition from the agriculture industry as farmers, who suddenly had to work the fields in darkness for an hour before sunrise, protested the new measure.


American practices surrounding Daylight Saving Time varied from state to state and even city to city across the country until 1966, when the Uniform Time Act codified the start and end dates of Daylight Saving Time nationwide from April through October. Now, Daylight Savings Time hours extend even further, from March until November. Even today, not all 50 states participate in the practice. If you travel to Hawaii or Arizona, for example, you will find that Daylight Saving Time is not in place there. Arizona’s Navajo Nation, however, does observe the custom.


Does Daylight Saving Time reward us with energy savings, as was originally intended? Some claim that it does, while others say it might do precious little to save energy, and may even increase energy consumption on the whole. Similarly, some sources say research has shown that Daylight Saving Time reduces traffic accidents and incidents of crime while still others state that it actually causes more accidents than would otherwise take place were there no DST! There’s one clear benefit we can all enjoy, however: the pleasure of extra sunlight, and the time to enjoy it, during the warm spring and summer months each year.


If you know or work with people who appreciate the value of time, they may appreciate thoughtful gifts that speak to the occasion, such as attractive, well-made custom branded clocks and watches. Even tasteful custom calendars might be a fitting choice as we approach the end of Daylight Savings Time this fall and a New Year beckons not far behind.


As we progress into the fall and winter seasons, are you planning a special seasonal promotion or holiday campaign for which custom branded products featuring exceptional design can make a difference? If so, reach out to us on social media—we’re on Twitter and Facebook—or call us at 877-881-6845 and we’ll be happy to provide experienced guidance on how you can achieve your branding goals this year and beyond.