Willett’s idea was picked up a few years later by the Germans who used it during World War I as a way to save on coal use. Other countries would soon follow suit.
In the U.S., DST was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918.
Why did the U.S. do it?
The idea of setting clocks ahead in the spring was pitched as a way to help farmers with crops and harvesting. In reality, it was department stores behind the push for adjusting clocks, looking for another hour of shopping time in the afternoon and evenings.
Others have argued that DST saves energy. A 1975 study by the U.S. Department of Transportation showed that DST accounted for a savings of about one percent a day in electricity use.
While most of the country and about 40 percent of the world use DST, there are some exceptions. Two states – Arizona and Hawaii – and several territories don’t fall back or spring forward with DST.
Will we keep it?
It’s likely that most U.S. states will continue the practice of changing the clock twice a year, though some state legislatures have discussed ending the practice.
Californians will vote Nov. 6 on a proposition to keep Daylight Saving Time year-round. Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill passed overwhelmingly by the Florida Legislature that would keep the Sunshine State on DST year-round.
However, keeping DST year-round requires a vote of Congress, and that has not happened.