The cows can’t get used to it and the milk trains won’t wait (the history of Daylight Saving Time)

DST_1918PosterToday most of America simply moves their clocks up one hour in March and sets them back one hour in November (or in this day and age, your digital devices reset it for you).  Thereafter, there are few, if any, references to Standard or Daylight Saving Time.  However, back in the early twentieth century it was a HUGE deal and not without controversy.  In many ways it was city dwellers vs. rural America.

In the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin wrote an amusing tongue-in-cheek essay, entitled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.”  In the essay he essentially proposed that instead of using candles or oil lamps for light in the mornings that natural sunlight be used instead.   Franklin, on the night previous, had seen a demonstration of an oil lamp and he began to think in terms of economy and thrift.  Was the price of the oil to fuel the lamp worth the cost?

When he posed the question to his hosts at the demonstration of the oil lamp, he apparently gave them something to ponder:

I was pleased to see this general concern for economy, for I love economy exceedingly.

NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription here.

Leave a Comment