As you prepare to reset your watches, alarms, and microwaves, explore these fun facts about daylight saving time—some might surprise you!
1. Benjamin Franklin did not originate the idea of moving clocks forward.
In 1784, after being unpleasantly woken up by the summer sun in Paris, Benjamin Franklin penned a satirical essay stating how much Parisians could save through “the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.” As a result, Franklin is often credited with “inventing” daylight saving time. While he was in favor of maximizing waking hours, Franklin really just proposed a change in sleep schedules—not time itself.
2. Germany was the first country to enact daylight saving time.
After an early-morning horseback ride in 1905, Englishman William Willett had an epiphany to move the clocks forward so more people could enjoy the sunlight. He published an essay called The Waste of Daylight in hopes of bringing his idea to life. In 1916, Germany embraced daylight saving time to conserve electricity. Weeks later, the United Kingdom followed suit! Unfortunately, Willett died in 1915 without ever seeing his vision come to life!
3. It was not intended to benefit farmers in the United States.
Contrary to popular belief, American farmers did not lobby for daylight saving time in order to have more time to work in the fields. In fact, the industry was opposed to the time switch when it was implemented in 1918. Farmers led the fight to repeal daylight saving time, leading to a national repeal in 1919. However, over the decades, retail stores and recreational businesses have championed daylight saving time rather than the rural interests.
4. Not everyone in the United States springs forward and falls back.
Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe daylight saving time. U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands also remain on standard time year-round. Only about one-quarter of the world’s population, in approximately 70 countries, observe daylight saving time! Extra fact: It is pronounced Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time!