So, today people in the U.S. are groggy because they lost an hour of sleep overnight. Yes, it’s the dreaded beginning of Daylight Savings Time (DST) when we all “spring forward”. It’s a curious practice and there a lot of different explanations for why we do it. Some suggest Benjamin Franklin encouraged DST to save on the cost of candles. Later, in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, it became important set up schedules. Some theories say it was because of farming. Crops are generally harvested in the summer months so an extra hour of daylight to collect crops makes sense. In the 1970s there was an energy crisis and some believed an extra hour of daylight at night would help save energy. Plenty of other experts refute this.
Actually, the act of keeping time, of schedules, time zones, DST and the like, are all more modern inventions. Countries, states and even towns, often kept different time. That all started to change with the advent of trains. American railways tended to have different times, and each station often kept its own schedule. This caused all sorts of problems. In the 1800s efforts began to standardize time around the world, with the establishment of time zones. The most important piece of that was determining a Prime Meridian. A starting point for time, if you will.
In 1884, the International Meridian Conference was held in Washington D.C. The conference proposed that the prime meridian for longitude and timekeeping should be in Greenwich in the United Kingdom (UK). So Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) became the world's time standard. The international 24-hour time-zone system grew from this, so that all time zones referred back to GMT on the prime meridian.
Here’s the complete story of Time Zones: History of Time Zones
So, there’s my history lesson on time. Do you observe Daylight Savings Time where you are? Are you groggy today?
Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational romance and women’s fiction filled with Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith. She is the author of the Covington Falls Chronicles, romances set in a fictional Southern town. Visit her at: Kristin Wallace Author