How did Daylight Savings Time (DST) come about?

Do you know how the semi-annual time-shifts started and got adopted in around 70 countries? You wouldn’t believe it if I told you it had to do with the studies of insects.

Some people consider the American scientist Benjamin Franklin the inventor of DST. According to historical documents, he was the first person to mention the concept of waking up and going to bed earlier in his satirical essay in Journal de Paris in the late 18th century. He said Parisians could use more natural daylight, burn fewer candles and use less oil.

However, it had never got any traction and it was about a hundred years later that George Vernon Hudson, a recreational insect specialist in New Zealand, presented the concept at an academic society. He proposed moving the clock forward by two hours during the summer days to allow people more time for outdoor activities. He was working at the Wellington Post Office and hoped he could use more natural day light studying insects after work. With his and subsequent campaigners’ advocacy, countries started implementing it during the First World War. Germany in 1916, followed by some other European countries within weeks and the US in 1918. The implementation was on and off during and after the Wars until the oil crisis in the 1970s when countries needed DST to save energy.

At first, different places have different DST schedules, causing a lot of confusion. In 1966, the U.S. standardised it for its country. And in 1996, the European Union standardised it for its members.



Even after decades of implementation, DST is still creating confusion and frustration to some people. In March 2019, the European Parliament voted in favour of removing DST permanently. But until it actually happens, the best way to avoid the hassle of adjusting your clock is to buy a radio-controlled one that automatically synchronises itself.


Check out the radio-controlled clocks from NeXtime here

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