By Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
This weekend marks the second Sunday of March, which means Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward Saturday night. Although cell phones, tablets, and computers will automatically update the time.
More than 70 countries observe Daylight Savings Time, which became a national standard in the United States in 1966 with the passage of the Uniform Time Act. It was extended by the federal government in 2007 from six months of the year to eight months.
If legend is to be believed, the idea of something like Daylight Savings Time is almost as old as the United States itself. Benjamin Franklin is popularly credited with being the first to suggest the idea in 1784, although what he proposed was surely meant as a joke.
A few days after awaking to a room filled with sunlight after a late night out in Paris, Franklin penned a letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris, in which he recounted waking up to find sunlight streaming into his room, only to find to his surprise it was 6 a.m. Franklin went on to calculate the cost of 100,000 Parisians burning candles for seven hours a night, then sleeping past sunrise.
“An immense sum! that the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunrise instead of candles,” Franklin wrote.
He proposed a tax be laid on every window that was shuttered to block out the sun, that no family be allowed more than one pound of candles per week, that guards be placed on the streets to stop all coaches except for those of doctors and midwives, and that the bells in every church be set to ringing at sunrise, and if that failed to wake the populace, a cannon be fired on every street “to wake the sluggards effectually….”