As Fairfielders brace to lose an hour of sleep this weekend, let’s explore the origins of Daylight Saving Time. The concept of DST began in 1916, when several European countries pushed the clocks ahead by one hour to save fuel during World War I. By doing this, daylight was extended one hour longer. They turned their clocks back “to normal” the following October. In 1918 the U.S. passed “An act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States.” It created DST in the U.S., established time zones, began on March 31 and lasted seven months during both 1918 and 1919. According to Webexhibits.org, after WWI ended, “the law proved so unpopular (mostly because people rose earlier and went to bed earlier than people do today) that it was repealed in 1919 with a Congressional override of President Wilson's veto. Daylight Saving Time became a local option, and was continued in a few states, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in some cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.”

A similar undertaking took place during World War II, when President Franklin Roosevelt created "War Time," which instituted DST all year long, from February 9, 1942 all the way through September 30, 1945. After WWII ended, DST was no longer federally regulated, but some states and towns continued to have it. This led to quite a bit of confusion.

“By 1966, some 100 million Americans were observing Daylight Saving Time based on their local laws and customs. Congress decided to step in and end the confusion, and to establish one pattern across the country. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 created Daylight Saving Time to begin on the last Sunday of April and to end on the last Sunday of October. Any State that wanted to be exempt from Daylight Saving Time could do so by passing a state law.”

The Federal law was amended in 1986 to begin DST on the first Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday of October. In 2007 DST was extended and now it begins at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

More Information

1916

The year Daylight Saving Time began when several European countries pushed the clocks ahead by one hour to save fuel during WWI.

Don’t forget to “spring ahead” and move your clocks forward one hour before you go to sleep Saturday night!

The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, are open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Members of the Museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org. The Fairfield Museum relies on funding from individuals, corporations and foundations. The Museum is especially grateful for leadership support from the State of Connecticut, Town of Fairfield and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.