Be it for candles, bugs or golf, daylight saving time resumes

Benjamin Franklin, who did not invent daylight saving time. Undated | Photo in the public domain.

ST. GEORGE — Sunday at 2 a.m. a custom will be observed, a custom that began because one man wanted to collect bugs and another wanted to finish his round of golf. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed Saturday, as daylight saving time returns.

Candles, bugs and golf

George Vernon Hudson, who first suggested daylight saving time, undated| Photo in the public domain

Benjamin Franklin did not invent daylight saving time. He satirically suggested it in a 1784 article aimed at Paris residents, suggesting they change their clocks to conserve the use of candles. But it was not until 1895 that the first serious proposition was made, by a New Zealand entomologist named George Vernon Hudson.

Hudson presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society suggesting the change because he wanted to have an extra hour of daylight to collect insects. Encouraged by the response received he followed it up in 1898 by writing a paper for the Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute.

William Willet, an English golfer, disliked cutting his golf round short at dusk, so he independently conceived the idea in 1905. After publishing a paper regarding his idea in 1907, Willet’s proposal was taken up by the Liberal Member of Parliament Robert Pearce, who introduced the first Daylight Saving Bill to the House of Commons in 1908. A committee was set up to examine the issue, but Pearce’s bill did not become law, and several other bills failed in the following years. Willett was a proponent of the idea until his death in 1915.

Daylight saving time arrives during wartime

Starting on April 30, 1916, Germany and its World War I ally Austria-Hungary were the first to use daylight saving time as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, most of its allies, and many European neutrals soon followed suit. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year and the United States adopted it in 1918.

WWI-era poster promoting Daylight Saving Time, Date unknown | Public domain photo

If you’re old enough you will remember the energy crisis of the 1970s. Congress passed an act keeping daylight saving time in force year-round. This change lasted from Jan. 6, 1974, to Feb. 23, 1975, when the order was rescinded, allowing standard time to return Oct. 27, 1975.

Hawaii is the only state that has fully opted out of daylight saving time. The majority of Arizona also does not observe it, however the Navajo Nation, which extends into Utah and New Mexico, does observe the time change. To make things even more interesting, the Hopi Nation, completely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, does not observe daylight saving time.

Of U.S. territories, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands do not observe daylight saving time.

Several states, including Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee and Washington, have attempted to legislate the nonobservance, but so far have failed in this endeavor.

Utah and daylight saving time

Utah legislators have made numerous attempts to place the state on a single time, one that doesn’t change. The bills have been uniformly unsuccessful. This year three bills have been introduced to accomplish this.

The first is a resolution by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan that would have called on the federal government to change Utah’s designated time zone, aligning Utah with Central Standard Time year-round. That bill was returned to the Senate Rules Committee by a 3-1 vote, with 2 voting members absent.

Two other bills are currently being considered. One bill, by Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, would have Utah stay in Mountain Standard Time. That bill was introduced to the House Rules Committee in January and has not progressed. Had it passed as drafted, it would have been effective today.  

The third bill, sponsored by Rep. Norman K. Thurston, R-Provo, would align Utah with Central Standard Time. This bill has received a note from legislative analysts, stating that there is a “high probability that a court would declare the legislation to be unconstitutional” because the “provisions (that are being changed) are part of the federal Uniform Time Act, which sets uniform national standards for the regulation of time zones.”

Change your clocks, change your smoke detector batteries

Its a good idea to change your smoke detector batteries today as well. It’s recommended that you do this at every time change, to make sure you and your family remain safe.

Make sure you set your clocks ahead tonight. If you forget you might be late for your tee time or church meeting Sunday.

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  • anybody home March 7, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Interesting history about DST. It’s a nuisance, but at least my two big clocks will be correct again. Too much trouble to change them so I just subtract an hour when not on DST.

  • carol March 7, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Insightful and interesting. Thanks. More Sun…More Fun….Here is the list for North America and rest of the world

    • anybody home March 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks for this, Carol…and yes, more sun, more fun!

  • DB March 7, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    If I were Lord King, I’d get rid of DST in Utah. We’re too far west in the mountain time zone to need it. Sounds like it’s a dead issue in the legislature anyway, once again. Switching to CST is the equivalent of year-round DST, making a bad thing even worse.

    • BIG GUY March 7, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      As you say, most Utahan’s don’t recognize that we are at the far western edge of the Mountain Time Zone making our sunrises and sunsets already skewed about 40 minutes later than those near the center, e.g. Grand Junction, CO. If I lived in western Kansas, I’d be very much in favor of DST. But here, give me a break. The sun won’t rise until after 8 AM for weeks. Same thing next October. Madness.

  • JustBen March 7, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    Only the American congress thinks that if you cut 12 inches off the top of your blanket and sew it onto the bottom that it makes the blanket longer. Time to wake up, folks. We live in a 24 hour a day 7 days a week world, you’re not going to save any energy by changing a clock.

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