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By Jennifer Harbin/The Hesperian-Beacon—
FLOYD COUNTY—Though many U.S. states, and multiple countries, debate daylight saving time has run its course, it is time once again for clocks to spring forward an hour. In Texas, the official time to set the clock one hour forward begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8.
At the end of March or beginning of April typically, extra daylight hours allow West Texas farmers to stay in the field longer. But, how did the whole notion of shifting our clocks to allow more sunlight during the evening hours come about?
Often erroneously called daylight savings time, the tradition evolves from both unusual and practical sources. There exists a common misconception that Benjamin Franklin is to credit, or blame, for the back and forth time shifts. However, according to The Franklin Institute website, despite Franklin’s prolific inventions, daylight saving time was not one of them.
“Daylight saving time is one thing that Franklin did not invent. He merely suggested Parisians change their sleep schedules to save money on candles and lamp oil. The common misconception comes from a satirical essay he wrote in the spring of 1784 that was published in the Journal de Paris. In the essay, titled “An Economical Project,” he writes of the thrifty benefits of daylight versus artificial light.”
The initial concept of daylight saving time actually emerged in 1895 by George Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand. Though the mechanics of his two-hour time shift in the summer differs from the current model in use in the United States, Hudson sought extra daylight hours after work for bug hunting, according to an article by National Geographic published online in 2019.
Daylight saving time during World Wars I and II were used by allies and foes alike to conserve fuel for the war effort. Afterward, the practice in the U.S. remained inconsistent but popular enough with people that President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (15 U.S. Code Section 260a) into law on April 22, 1966, thus creating what we now observe.