Daylight Saving Time Turns 99

In 1918, ‘No Confusion Expected,’ but Ring the Church Bells ‘Lustily’ Just in Case

By Paul Riegler on 12 March 2017
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This year marks the 99th year of Daylight Saving Time in the United States and FBT staff thought it would be interesting to look at how it was implemented at the time and what the public reaction was.

Although the concept of changing the amount of daylight during the workday dates back to a somewhat tongue-in-cheek proposal by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, it was first adopted on a broad scale during the First World War, when Germany set its clocks one hour ahead on April 30, 1916, a move quickly followed by a dozen countries that included Britain, France, Italy, Norway, and Turkey.

In the United States, Daylight Saving Time was set to begin on March 31, 1918, which also happened to be Easter Sunday. Despite the subhead “No Confusion Expected,” a New York Times article the prior day noted that pastors were concerned about church attendance for the holiday.

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“It is expected that many persons will forget to put ahead their watches and clocks and will consequently be late for services,” the Times explained.

As a solution, officials of the National Daylight Saving Association, run by the memorably named Marcus M. Marks, which spearheaded the adoption, suggested that churches ring their bells “more lustily” to call the faithful to prayer.

Click here to continue to Page 2The First Jump of the Clock

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