Share on Facebook

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Daylight Saving Time

Here's why candy makers love it and the state of Arizona doesn't.

Clock drawn in sand at water's edgePeter Cade/Getty Images

Daylight saving time facts

When you think about Daylight Saving time you probably just focus on how your sleep schedule is going to get all messed up, but there is actually a lot more behind it. Read on to learn about these Daylight Saving Time facts that you probably don’t know.

iStock/peshkov

Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of Daylight Saving…

But it was a joke. In 1784, Franklin penned a satirical letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris outlining how many pounds of candle wax the city would save (64,050,000 pounds, according to his calculations) if only its clocks were better aligned with the rise and set of the sun. If residents had trouble adjusting, he suggested the city “let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards effectually.” Now that’s a wake-up call. Read more about how the idea of Daylight Saving Time started as a joke.

iStock/Roylee_photosunday

The idea wasn’t taken seriously until 1907

More than a century after Franklin’s letter, a British builder named William Willet became the champion of Daylight Saving, and lobbied Parliament to adjust the time in April and September in order to take full advantage of the day’s light. It is said the idea came to him after riding his horse one summer morning and noticing how many blinds were still down, which signaled to him the sunlight was going to waste. Another Daylight Saving Time fact, these are the only two states that don’t observe it.

iStock/RTsubin

Daylight Saving Time became law during World War I

Germany and several other European countries had already mandated DST as a way of reducing electricity and thereby saving coal for the war effort. Recent studies have called this line of thinking into question, with researchers crunching data to decide whether or not DST really does save energy. This is why Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 a.m.

iStock/SrdjanPav

Our changing clocks have led to a fair share of confusion

After World War II, America repealed its national law requiring states to institute DST. Some towns decided to stick with it and some didn’t, which ultimately resulted in chaos. One 35-mile bus ride from Mounsville, West Virginia to Steubenville, Ohio, took riders through seven different time changes. At one point, even the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota were on different clocks. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act standardized DST from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. Want to read about more Daylight Saving Time facts? Read up on the real reason we spring forward and fall back.

iStock/Kanawa_Studio

More sunlight equals more sales

As it turns out, when Americans have an extra hour of sunlight in the summer, we spend millions more on golf outings and barbecues. In 1986, when Congress changed DST from six months to seven, the golf industry said the extra month brought in $200 million in additional sales of golf clubs and greens fees. The barbecue industry said the extra month was worth $100 million in sales of grills and charcoal briquettes. Here’s an explanation behind the Daylight Saving Time dilemma many states face.

iStock/mg7

Candy makers also have a lot at stake

“For 25 years, candy makers have wanted to get trick-or-treating covered by Daylight Saving, figuring that if children have an extra hour of daylight, they’ll collect more candy,” Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, said on NPR.  During the 1985 hearings on DST, the candy lobby even went so far as to put candy pumpkins on the seat of every senator. Here’s what would happen if we got rid of DST.

iStock/monkeybusinessimages

The number of accidents and heart attacks increases

Sleepyheads beware: A study found that Daylight Saving resulted in a whopping 5.7 percent increase in workplace injuries. Another study found that the number of heart attacks surge as much as 24 percent on the Monday following our spring forward into Daylight Saving Time. Don’t miss these 11 tricks to stay healthy during Daylight Saving Time.

iStock/fergregory

But the rate of crime goes down

The U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration found that crime has consistently dropped during DST by 10 percent top 13 percent.

iStock/gregobagel

Some states just have to be different

Because the federal government has no law requiring states to observe DST, Hawaii and Arizona are the exceptions to the Daylight-Saving rule. At one point, Colorado wanted to implement DST year-round, in order to save residents from the “aggravation of resetting their clocks.” In Texas, Republican Rep. Dan Flynn, authored a bill to exempt his state from observing DST entirely, with part of his argument focusing on the effect it might have on the start time of NFL games. The Texas House of Representatives turned this one down.

iStock/Michal Krakowiak

Don’t expect everyone to be on time

In a study by Rasmussen Reports, 27 percent of respondents admitted they’d been an hour early or late at least once in their lives because they hadn’t changed their clocks correctly. Remember: It’s spring forward; fall back. Now that you know all of these Daylight Saving Time facts, read up on these 100 interesting and fun facts that will blow your mind.

Sources:

  • Web Exhibits: “Benjamin Franklin’s Essay on Daylight Saving”
  • History: “8 Things You May Not Know About Daylight Saving Time”
  • NPR: “The Reasoning Behind Changing Daylight-Saving”
  • National Geographic