Farmers Never Wanted Daylight Saving Time

Brilliance | Dec. 15, 2017

Why do we have daylight saving time? It's a popular theory that the concept was devised to give American farmers more daylight during harvest, but that's actually not the case. To save energy during wartime, President Woodrow Wilson proposed setting clocks back an hour in the fall, thereby giving people an extra hour of daylight when they wouldn't need to use electric lights. This was a boon for commercial interests, since office workers would have more daylight for shopping at the end of the day—but for farmers, it was nothing but trouble.

An Inconvenient Schedule

The shifted clock interfered with farmers' entire schedules. It meant they couldn't work as quickly in the morning because the fields were covered in dew, and cows weren't ready to produce when the milk truck arrived. They disliked daylight saving time so much, in fact, that they pushed, successfully, for its repeal in 1919.

A Patchwork Of Time Differences

That federal repeal turned daylight saving time from a broad national rule to a patchwork of state and local regulations, creating so many time differences that, according to History, "passengers on a 35-mile bus ride from Steubenville, Ohio, to Moundsville, West Virginia, passed through seven time changes." Finally, in 1966, the Uniform Time Act standardized daylight saving time for the United States yet again.

Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos About Daylight Saving Time

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