Like it or not, here it comes. This Sunday, November 5th we fall back a full hour. But why? Why do we continue a practice that started in 1916 in Germany during World War I to conserve energy? Why did the United States adopt it in 1918 only to have it removed, brought back, removed, and brought back again? Is it for the farmers? The stores? Golf courses?

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The original purpose was to save energy used by 'electric lights', NOT by farmers, who contrary to popular belief opposed DST, saying it messed with 'God's Clock'. So, who did benefit? Golf ball sales increased, baseball game attendance rose with later start times, and retail stores also saw profits go up. Movie theaters took a huge hit however, as people of the time couldn't bring themselves to go into a dark theater when it was still daylight.

Who Had the Original Idea for Daylight Saving Time?

An alarm clock noting that Daylight Saving Time begins on November 5th, 2023 in Michigan.

Though the practice began in Germany, they most likely got the idea from Britain. "The Waste of Daylight", a pamphlet published by William Willet in 1907 is what many historians credit for planting the seeds of seasonal clock changes:

Everyone appreciates the long light evenings. Everyone laments their shrinkage as Autumn approaches, and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the clear bright light of early morning during Spring and Summer months, is so seldom seen or used. Nevertheless Standard time remains so fixed, that for nearly half the year the sun shines upon the land, for several hours each day while we are asleep…

Fast forward a century and change and we Michiganders get to annually 'Spring Forward' and 'Fall Back'. Like it or hate it, we're doing it again this Sunday. Does it save energy? It's difficult to measure according to Entergy, who says there is a 1% dip in electric usage in the US, while Europe sees a 9% increase in heating costs. If you're struggling to make sense of it you're not alone.

An alarm clock noting that Daylight Saving Time begins on November 5th, 2023 in Michigan.

Michigan has steadily practiced DST since the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Even if we wanted to move away from it, and the state voted for it, we couldn't budge without the feds hopping on board. Fortunately, DST no longer requires a small army with tactical precision to reset every clock in the house. Gone are the days of the flashing 12:00 on VCRs and DVD players. Cable and satellite boxes automatically update, as do our cell phones.

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Aside from getting acclimated to a new schedule, you will still need to ask for some help to get both the refrigerator and the microwave on the same time but, at least you're not digging up electronics manuals to figure out how to change the time on your TV/VCR combo anymore.

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