Spring forward tonight! Contrary to popular opinion, Daylight Saving Time is not federally mandated. States have the right to exempt themselves. Hawaii, most of Arizona and some American territories do not change their clocks, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), which oversees Daylight Saving in the U.S.
It’s not the farmers fault. The measure was first introduced in 1918, to save energy during World War I, following Britain and Germany. A British architect named William Willett had been the one to truly popularize and promote the custom, though Benjamin Franklin had come up with a similar idea in loose terms in the 18th century.
Despite reintroductions during World War II for the same energy-conservation purposes, it didn’t become law until 1966, when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which also established standard time zones across the U.S. The most prominent lobbyist group for Daylight Saving Time was actually the Chamber of Commerce. It’s all about business of course!
Why would the Chamber of Commerce care about the clocks? They lobbied, for the most part, on behalf of the department stores who were really the “economic force” in metropolitan areas, specifically in big cities like New York, “They had understood that if you gave workers more daylight at the end of the day when they were leaving work, they would stop and shop on the way home,” he explains. “It has turned out to be an incredible retail boom.”
To learn more read Michael Downing’s authored: Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time.
Spring forward with Chris Edwards and Napa Valley 2019.