Spring Forward, Fall Back

It’s that time again, when They are messing with my habit pattern. Daylight saving time gives way to standard time. And it will take me a few days to adjust.

I supposedly get back that hour I lost last spring when we went from standard time to daylight saving. I just wish They would pick a time and stick with it.

Daylight saving time goes back, interestingly enough, to Benjamin Franklin, who first mentioned it in 1784. Proposed again in the 1890s, it was first implemented in the United States during World War I, and again in World War II. It’s used primarily in the northern hemisphere. Vast sections of the globe don’t use it at all.

Standard time isn’t that old either. Up until the 1880s, most U.S. railroads used their own time system.

Railroad time, they called it.

The Central Pacific and Southern Pacific operated on San Francisco time. If your train left from New York City, it ran on New York time. Trains operating out of Chicago ran on Chicago time, regardless of where the time was according to the meridian or the sun.

Talk about confusing!

Gives new meaning to the term, does anybody really know what time it is.

Major rail stations served by different railroads had separate clocks for each road, with different times. The main station in Pittsburgh, PA kept six times.

Eventually the heads of the major railroads got together and acted on a proposal to set time zones, originally five, but four were eventually adopted.

US Time Zone Map, Circa 1913

That happened at noon on Sunday, November 18, 1883 – called “The Day of Two Noons.” All U.S. and Canadian railroads readjusted their clocks and watches.

The city of Detroit used three different times – Eastern, Central, and local mean time – before finally settling on Eastern.

It wasn’t until 1918 that the Standard Time Act was adopted in the U.S. Congress.

It’s getting dark now.

All I know is, I hate going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. So I’ll be looking forward to spring when the daylight hours begin to lengthen.

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