It’s that time of year our clocks and changing the batteries in our smoke detectors has become an unmistakable sign of the change of seasons. But what exactly is Daylight Saving Time and how did it get started? Below are excerpts from an article in the Farmers’ Alamanac that will help explain some of the mystery. Enjoy!


Daylight Saving Time is the practice of changing the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and changing them back again in the fall. Find out when the seasons start here. The general idea is that this allows us all to make better use of natural daylight, however, DST has many detractors.

Note that the process is officially called “Daylight Saving Time,” but is more commonly known as “Daylight Savings Time”. Use whichever you prefer!


When do we set our clocks back? Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 2:00 A.M.  We “fall back” by setting your clocks back one hour (i.e., regaining one hour).

When do we set our clocks forward? Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 2:00 A.M.  Remember to “spring ahead” and set your clocks forward 1 hour (i.e., losing one hour). (We do this Saturday night when we go to bed.)

(The exceptions to DST are Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.)


Here’s the short history of this phenomenon …

Credit for Daylight Saving Time belongs to Benjamin Franklin, who first suggested the idea in 1784. The idea was revived in 1907, when William Willett, an Englishman, proposed a similar system in the pamphlet The Waste of Daylight.

The Germans were the first to officially adopt the light-extending system in 1915 as a fuel-saving measure during World War I. The British switched one year later, and the United States followed in 1918, when Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which established our time zones. This experiment lasted only until 1920, when the law was repealed due to opposition from dairy farmers (cows don’t pay attention to clocks).

During World War II, Daylight Saving Time was imposed once again (this time year-round) to save fuel. Since then, Daylight Saving Time has been used on and off, with different start and end dates. Currently, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 A.M. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2:00 A.M. on the first Sunday in November.

The Old Farmer's Almanac