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Daylight Saving

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DAYLIGHT SAVING. A movement Originated in England by William Willett (1857-1915) in 1907 by the publication of a booklet entitled The Waste of Daylight.' Briefly stated, his scheme aimed at securing more daylight leisure for recreation and lessen ing the work performed by artificial light dur ing the summer months. This was to be brought about in the following manner: The hour between two and three o'clock in the morning of each of the first four Sundays in April should be a short hour consisting of only 40 minutes, while the same hour in four Sundays in September was to be reckoned as 80 minutes. Greenwich and Dublin mean time were to be retained for purposes of astronomy and navigation, as well as for legal and par liamentary documents unless otherwise signi fied. Shorn of technicalities, it simply meant that during the summer months people should rise an hour earlier than usual in the morning, begin work an hour earlier and finish an hour earlier in the afternoon or evening. The value of early rising has been extolled by wise men of all ages. Daylight saving" has been prac tised in the oldest of all industries —agri culture — probably since the creation of man; from the earliest times down to the present day it has been, and still is, in active, daily operation among the bulk of mankind—in Asia, Africa, Australia and the agrarian com munities of America and Europe. To the so-called °working classes" - it would be superfluous to preach the rly to bed and early to rise" doctrine: upon them the rising part at least is a life-long obligation. Early rising has become almost a lost art among the °higher ranks* of city dwellers; gas, elec tric light and the multiplication of amusements have added at least half of the night on to the end of the normal day and produced the natural result of later rising in the morning. Benjamin Franklin was perhaps the first to draw attention to the anomaly of burning ex pensive artificial light in the evening whilst an abundance of free daylight was wasted in the morning by late rising. In March 1784 (while United States Minister to France) he pub lished in the Paris Journal a long, humorous letter headed, An Economical Project,' in which he related that he was in °grand com pany" one evening where a newly-invented lamp was introduced. °I went home, and to bed, three or four hours after midnight, with my head full of the subject." Suddenly awakening at six in the morning, he was °astonished," not only to find that the sun was shining, but that he gives light as soon as he But for the accidental wakening, he says, °I should have slept six hours longer by the light of the sun, and in exchange have lived six hours the following night by candle light. . .

The movement started by Willett produced a heated controversy in the British Empire that spread over six years. Numerous municipali ties and corporations welcomed the proposal and several private firms adopted it, though not by altering the clock, but by commencing daily operations an hour earlier. The fiercest opposition to the scheme came from prominent scientists and learned societies. Early in 1908 a °Daylight Saving Bill" was introduced in the House of Commons and, after passing a second reading, was referred to a Select Parliamentary Committee, which reported favorably on it, stating that the proposal would not only be beneficial to the general health of the com munity at large, but would curtail expenditure on artificial light. The bill, however, did not reach the final stages in the House; a similar bill was introduced in the following year and also referred to a select committee, which re ported against it. One of the main objections was advanced in behalf of meteorological instru ments designed to record continuously day and night, and the system of daily international telegraphic reports of synchronous observations upon which weather reports are based. It was pointed out that acts of Parliament could pro duce no effect upon daylight; that gas or elec tric light could be saved by making more use of daylight without alteration of clocks, and that it would be just as reasonable to change the readings of the thermometer at a particular season. The late Sir John Milne, the astrono

mer, wrote, °The onlypeople that have a shifty time are Mahommedans and savages, and it is now suggested that we should . . . join their ranks.) Other prominent men asserted that the proposal was based upon self deception, °rising at five and making yourself believe it is six o'clock." M. Charles Lalle mand, scientist and administrator, was ap pointed by the French government to investi gate and report upon the scheme. He con demned it in toto, maintaining that the position of the sun in the sky afforded the proper de termination of time, and that an arbitrary dis placement of noon, combined with differences of longitude, would operate very unequally in districts east and west of Paris, and that Brest would be as much as one and a half hours' away from true time. Up to the outbreak of the European War repeated efforts were made in Great Britain to promote legislation on the sub ject, but without success. Willett died 4 March 1915. Though he did not live to see his cherished plan adopted except in isolated cases, he knew that it was supported by over 700 city corporations and town and district councils, as well as by hundreds of societies and associa tions. The year 1916, however, was destined to witness a remarkable translation of theory into practice in the way of "daylight saving? In April its adoption was contemplated in Austria. On 8 May the question was raised in the House of Commons and advocated as a war measure of economy. Sir Henry. Norman estimated that altogether $12,500,000 would be saved in lighting. A bill was introduced on NI) May, passed through both hOuses, received the royal assent on the 17th, and came into operation three days later. Farmers and mu nition workers expressed disapproval, the former deciding to adhere to the real as against the "sham time" shown by the public clocks. Although the bill referred explicitly to the year 1916 it gave power to extend the operation of the act in any year, so long as the war cow tinned. Instead, however, of adopting the com plicated Willett plan, it was decided to advance the clocks by a full hour on 21 May and return to normal time on 1 October. The same month (May 1916) the system was introduced in Den mark, Germany and Holland; Italy, France and Portugal followed in June. In Germany, per manent adoption of the scheme was proposed in July; New Zealand rejected (after passing) it in August; Tasmania adopted it in Sep tember; Victoria in November, and the Aus tralian Dominion Parliament passed the meas ure to take effect in January 1917. The city corporation of London proposed permanent adoption, and in October it was actively urged in the United States. Norway decided in favor of daylight saving in May 1916, but rejected it in April 1917, as also did Denmark and Sweden in the same month, while Spain adopted it in May, at the same time that the Australian Cabinet decided to repeal the act. Turkey, Switzerland and Russia also adopted daylight saving; Nova Scotia and Newfoundland were the pioneers of the scheme in the New World. The French bureau in February 1917 suggested an international daylight saving conference to be held after the war. On 17 April 1917 a bill drafted by the National Daylight Saving Asso ciation was introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Calder of New York. It was pointed out that New York city could save $1,500,000 annually in gas alone. The American Federation of Labor welcomed the plan; the American Astronomical Society was divided as to its value, voting 18 in favor, 22 against, 6 neutral. The measure was passed 27 June 1917 without a roll call, to take effect on the last Sunday in April 191& Actually, it came into force at 2 o'clock in the morning of Easter Sunday, 191& Consult The Independent, 19 Feb. and 5 May 1917; Current Opinion, 17 Feb, 1917; Nature (London), 9 July 1908; 11 March 1909; 22 April 1909; 6 April 1911; 27 April 1911; 11 May 1911: 27 April 1916; 4 May 1916; 11 May 1916; New York Herald, 17 March 1918; New York Sun, 24 March 1918; 13 Jan. 1918; Smyth, A. 'The Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin IX, New York 1906).