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Benjamin Franklin Saves the Daylight

Published: March 7, 2009

On Sunday, March 8, don’t forget to “spring forward” and set your clocks an hour ahead when daylight saving time kicks in.

While the goal of daylight saving time is to give us the opportunity to enjoy sunny summer evenings and help reduce energy costs, implementing the time shift has been fraught with controversy. Many claim the time change is more hassle than it is worth.

“The annual change to and from daylight-saving time is accompanied by widespread confusion, mix-ups and cries of dismay,” reads the article “Turn That Darn Thing Off!” from the December 9, 1950 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

The first American to advocate for daylight saving was one of the country’s most famous Founding Fathers.

“The daylight-saving idea is credited to Benjamin Franklin, who once wrote that while he was walking at the Strand and Fleet Street, in London, at seven o’clock one morning in 1784, he observed that not a shop was open, although it had been daylight more that three hours,” reads the Post article. “He regarded this as a waste of candles, and published his views in the Journal de Paris, suggesting that people turn clocks an hour fast in summer, so as to be awake an hour longer by daylight and an hour less by candlelight.”

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