Are you a fan of daylight saving time? Not so much? Regardless of your opinion on the long-standing policy in the U.S. of “springing forward” and “falling back,” here are some myth-busters about daylight saving time (DST), courtesy of the Washington Post.
1. Daylight saving time was meant to help farmers.
Many of us heard, at some point in elementary school, that DST was developed because of farming. The idea that more daylight means more time in the field for farmers continues to get airtime on the occasional local news report and in state legislatures — “Farmers wanted it because it extends hours of working in the field,” Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn offered after filing a bill that would abolish DST. Even Michael Downing, who wrote a book about DST, has said that before researching the subject, “I always thought we did it for the farmers.”
In fact, the inverse is true. “The farmers were the reason we never had a peacetime daylight saving time until 1966,” Downing told National Geographic. “They had a powerful lobby and were against it vociferously.” The lost hour of morning light meant they had to rush to get their crops to market. Dairy farmers were particularly flummoxed: Cows adjust to schedule shifts rather poorly, apparently.
Daylight saving time, in this or any other country, was never adopted to benefit farmers; it was first proposed by William Willett to the British Parliament in 1907 as a way to take full advantage of the day’s light. Germany was the first country to implement it, and the U.S. took up the practice upon entering World War I, hypothetically to save energy. How did farmers end up being the mythical source of DST? Downing suggests that because they were such vocal opponents, “they became associated into the popular image of daylight-saving and it got inverted on them. It was just bad luck.”
Click here to read more myth-busters about daylight saving time.
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