Saving Time: Time Zone and Time Changes
of Daylight Saving Time
saving time is time observed when clocks and other timepieces
are set ahead so that the sun will rise and set later in the
day as measured by civil time. The amount of daylight on a
given day of the year at any given latitude is fixed, but
over the year the hours of sunrise and sunset vary from day
to day. During the summer months, the sun rises earlier and
sets later and thus there are more hours of daylight. If clocks
are set ahead in the spring by some amount (usually one hour),
the sun will rise and set later in the day as measured by
those clocks. This provides more usable hours of daylight
for activities that occur in the afternoon and evening such
as outdoor recreation. Daylight saving time can also be a
means of conserving electrical and other forms of energy.
In the fall, as the period of daylight grows shorter, clocks
are set back to correspond to standard time.
Franklin, when serving as US minister to France, wrote an
article recommending earlier opening and closing of shops
to save the cost of lighting. In England, William Willett
in 1907 began to urge the adoption of daylight saving time.
During World War I the plan was adopted in England, Germany,
France and many other countries. In the US, Robert Garland
of Pittsburgh was a leading influence in securing the introduction
and passage of a law (signed by President Wilson on Mar 31,
1918) establishing daylight saving time in US.
the World War I, the law was replaced(1919). In World
War II, however, National daylight saving time was reestablished
by law on a year round basis. National year round daylight
saving time was adopted as a fuel-saving measure during
the energy crisis of the winter of 1973-74. In late
1974, standard time was reintroduced for the winter
federal legislation (signed by President Ronald Reagan)
fixed the period of daylight saving time in US as the
first Sunday (previously last Sunday) in April to the
last Sunday in October.
Hawaii and sections of Indiana do not use daylight saving
time. That is, there is no clock adjustment in these
states. Arizona follows Pacific Time in summer and Mountain
Time in winter. Similarly Indiana follows Central Time
in summer and Eastern Time in winter.
How and when did
the four time zones (PT, MT, CT and ET) in US come to observance?
Until late in the nineteenth
century, things were in a sorry state of confusion among American
railroads: no one agreed on what time it was. Finally on November
18, 1883 the US railroads, in desperation, put the country
on a standard time, of course four different standard time
zones. And the man behind this is Charles Ferdinand Dowd.
Prior to the adoption of standard
time, many communities based their time on the position of
the sun over city hall. The result was no end of chaos. Railroad
timetables, lacking a nationally synchronized master time
system, gave arrival and departure times in terms of the time
of each city. A traveler going from say Maine to California
had to adjust his watch twenty times to match local variations
in timekeeping. Leave that, even a traveler coming in to the
city of Buffalo from say Portland (Maine) might find the New
York Central clock indicating noon, the Lake Shore clock pointing
to 11:25 am, the Buffalo city clock showing 11:40 and his
own watch indicating 12:15 pm.
In comes Dowd, a man of meticulous
methodology, to the scene. He found timetables a mess of confusion.
It took him less than a year to work out a basic formula that
would unravel the chaos of time. But it took him thirteen
years to convince the apathetic public officials and railroad
executives to give his plan a try.
Dowd proposed his idea of hourly
divisions. The system called for the establishment of four
geographic zones, each fourteen degrees of longitude wide.
While each zone would observe a uniform time, the time would
vary exactly one hour from zone to zone. The zones were Eastern,
Central, Mountain and Pacific.
In 1869, Dowd’s plan was taken
for consideration by the Railroads. But the officials “sat”
on it for 13 years. Of course, for them also it was very difficult
practically to “impose” new timekeeping all of a sudden. Dowd
didn’t give up either. In 1883, the Railroad convention pledged
their officers to run all trains “by the standards agreed
upon in Dowd’s plan and to adopt same at 12’o clock noon Sunday,
And how did the historic event
was recorded by the Newspapers of that time? Here is what
“Harper’s Weekly”, a leading periodical of that time wrote:
“On the last day under the old system, when the sun reached
the 75th meridian, the clocks began their jangle for the hour
of noon and kept it up in a drift across the country for four
hours, like incoherent cowbells in a wildwood; But on Monday
the 19th, no clock struck for this hour until the sun reached
the 75th meridian. Then all the clocks on the continent struck
together, those in the Eastern Belt striking 12, the Central
Belt 11, in the Mountain Belt 10 and in the Pacific Belt 9.”
“Timetables everywhere became intelligent”.
What happened to Dowd? Ironically,
it was a railway accident which killed him. The man, who put
the Rails on track of time, was derailed in his life by a
speedy train at a level crossing near Saratoga, NY. Dowd had
to daud (= “run” in Hindi) to GOD, perhaps to set right timekeeping