Daylight Savings Time has officially begun. The clock turning tradition is a controversial one among residents as they spring forward one hour. As strange as Daylight Savings Time seems, it’s origins are even stranger.
While there are a few rumors and misconceptions, many people don’t quite know its history or why it still is a part of our lives today.
Daylight Savings Time was first invented in 1895 by New Zealand entomologist George Hudson. As an entomologist, Hudson studied bugs and wanted more daylight to gather insects. Hudson would write two papers on the subject, but Daylight Savings Time would not be enacted in New Zealand until the Summer Time Act of 1927.
That year, Hudson was the first recipient of the T.K. Sidney Medal in honor of the passing of the act.
During World War I, Daylight Savings Time was used by Germany, Austria, and other European countries in an effort to conserve fuel and energy.
It became increasingly popular in the United Kingdom and remained so for years to come. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill once stated that Daylight Savings time "enlarges the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among the millions of people who live in this country." Churchill grew up during the time that Daylight Savings time became popular in the United Kingdom and supported it during his time in office.
However, America didn’t respond to Daylight Savings Time so fondly. When it was brought into the U.S. in 1918 it was largely unpopular among the majority of citizens and was repealed that next year in 1919.
It would not return until President Roosevelt instituted “wartime” from 1942 to 1945. There would be no federal law mandating Daylight Savings Time for over 20 years after that. During the time where it was not federally mandated, Daylight Savings time was decided on the state and regional level as to whether or not it was necessary.
America’s complicated relationship with Daylight Savings Time continues to this day. Contrary to popular belief, there is currently no federal law mandating Daylight Savings Time.
Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states in the U.S. that don’t participate in Daylight Savings Time.
Although those are the only two states to repeal Daylight Savings Time, more states are following suit.
Recently California residents voted for Proposition 7, which seeks to repeal Daylight Savings Time. 60 percent of residents voted in favor of the proposition. It has yet to be officially signed by the Governor.