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Why do we have daylight saving time?
Why do we have daylight saving time?

Fall back, spring aheadů

Daylight saving time, the brainchild of Benjamin Franklin during his 18th century Parisian days, seems to increase the number of productive daylight hours we have, during the seasons when the sun sounds revile early. Today, the additional hour of sunlight we gain, by setting our clocks one hour ahead of time, allows us to close up shop an hour early, and to enjoy play time after the work day is done while the sun still beams high above us.

The extra daylight hour we now enjoy, by altering our circadian rhythms by one hour, did not immediately gain acceptance during Benjamin Franklin's time. Instead, the practice was born of necessity during World War I and II. The practicality of his idea came into play during these wars, when scarcity and rationing were the operative words. By following their normal routines, and by going to bed hours after sundown, people relied upon artificially generated light, which depleted the scarce reserves of fuel in its generation. Germany realized that this precious commodity could better be used to serve the war effort, and instituted the first daylight saving laws in 1915. Those who refused to comply with the lights out curfew faced punishment.

England followed suit in 1916, and, finally, the United States, in 1918. The United States reinstated the daylight saving laws on a national basis during World War II. The close of the war ended the law's necessity, but the national habit continued on a voluntary basis. Daylight saving time had taken root in our society, and was now the norm. Of course, daylight saving time never effected the farmer, whose livelihood dictates that he adheres to the old adage "Early to bed, early to rise."

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