Yesterday here in America we did our annual setting the clocks back for one hour as part of Daylight Savings Time. And yet it seems like people universally hate this system because that means it's dark at like 4:30 in the afternoon. And while America's politicians sit on their asses and don't address this horrible situation, there have been efforts to do so in the past.
Here is a look at 14 times people tried to change Daylight Savings Time.
1. Benjamin Franklin
While some people credit Franklin with inventing Daylight Savings, it's actually the opposite. He hated the idea of people sleeping in the morning while it was light out and then staying up all night while it was dark. He even wrote a satirical article about it in the Journal of Paris.
2. New Zealand
Technically this sort of has nothing to do with Daylight Savings, but the reason we have time zones is basically thanks to New Zealand. The country created a single time zone in the country to help railroad and telegraph operators to use a single time for everyone, as opposed to the past where one town it may be noon while in another it was 12:10. But this also meant that time was no longer pegged to sunlight but rather some arbitrary measurement created by the government.
3. George Hudson
George Hudson was an entomologist who basically proposed that we spring our clocks ahead indefinitely. He wanted this so it would allow him to collect more insects to study. But everyone hated the idea. Now George Hudson is my personal hero.
4. William Willett
Willett was an English inventor who noted that everyone hates when it's sunny early in the morning and then dark in the afternoon, so he proposed that the United Kingdom set their clocks ahead 80 minutes. The English parliament actually voted on it multiple times, but it always failed.
5. World War One
Modern Daylight Savings Time really begins in World War One when Germany moved their clocks ahead so their would be more Daylight in the evening, and therefore people wouldn't need to burn coal to keep their homes lit. The UK, Europe and the U.S. followed shortly afterwards.
6. Woodrow Wilson
After World War One, Congress actually voted to repeal Daylight Savings Time because farmers hated it (contrary to popular belief). Woodrow Wilson tried to veto the repeal, but it was overturned by Congress.
7. Post-World War One America
After Congress repealed Daylight Savings Time, U.S. cities were free to make their own laws regarding time. It set up a weird scenario where one town would not observe Daylight Savings, but then a neighboring town would. So in one town it could be 5 p.m. while it was only 4 p.m. just a few miles away.
8. United Kingdom in World War Two
The United Kingdom took Daylight Savings to a whole new level during World War Two and actually moved their clocks ahead by TWO hours to ensure maximum Daylight during the day. Although it was intended to give factories more time to create war supplies.
9. U.S. Time Zone Chaos
After World War Two, the United States once again let cities choose their own time. It was so crazy that the state of Iowa alone had 23 different time zones depending on whether or not they observed Daylight savings.
In 1966 Congress passed a law making Daylight savings time mandatory. But the state of Arizona actually refused to participate. They said adding an extra hour of Daylight would cost them more money because people would need to spend more money to cool their homes and businesses for an extra hour. Even to this day, most of the state does not participate.
11. Oil Crisis
While facing an oil crisis in 1974, the U.S. government passed emergency Daylight Savings for 16 months, meaning clocks stayed ahead in the "Spring Forward" time. While it may have saved 100,000 barrels of oil per day, it didn't do much to alleviate the problems caused by the oil embargo.
12. Chamber of Commerce
In the mid-1980's the U.S. Chamber of Commerce convinced Congress to extend Daylight Savings by an extra month. They argued that it would help boost businesses such as golf courses by adding an extra hour of sunlight to conduct business.
13. California and Florida
Both Florida and California have introduced bills to keep Daylight Savings all year so there's an extra hour of sunshine later in the day. Hawaii and Arizona have already done this, but California could do so tomorrow if voters approve a ballot initiative.
14. European Union
The European Union found that 80 percent of citizens want to keep Daylight Savings year-round (a.k.a. are rational human beings). So now the EU is exploring making that change as well.
(h/t Mental Floss)