Monday, November 5, 2012

I just set my clock back this weekend.”Spring Forward; Fall Back” is the maxim with which I am familiar. I set my clock back for no good reason as far as I know. I simply did it because everybody else did. Other than that, I wasn’t at all sure why I was supposed to. I had a vague memory of the institution of “wartime” during World War II, but that was all I remembered. That, for me, was not an actual reason. So I looked it up.

To my surprise, I found that the concept of daylight savings time is a lot older than I had supposed. Standard time in time zones was established in the US by the Standard Time Act of 1918. That act also brought into being daylight savings time. Daylight saving time was not popular and that provision of the act was repealed in 1919. It was re-instituted during World War II, hence my memory of it.

Those facts explained how daylight savings time came into being but they still didn’t give me any reason for the concept. I’ve heard such reasons as its being safer for children going to school and giving more leisure time in the summer. There was also the idea that its original purpose was to increase production of war goods during World War II. I’ve heard also that the intent is to provide more time for shopping. The last is probably close to the truth, for the regulation of time zones and daylight savings time was originally regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). And, according to Wikipedia, “the principal standard for deciding on a time zone change is the ‘convenience of commerce’.”

Anyway, I set my clock back this weekend. My reason? Everybody else does.

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