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.
BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 10: An alarm clock meant to symbolize the demand for workers to better determine their working hours stands near where workers from nearby Daimler and General Electric production plants were participating in a strike in demands for better pay and more flexible working conditions on January 10, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. The strike is part of dozens nationwide organized by the IG Metall labour union, which is pressing employers for a 6% increase in wages and the option of a limited, two-year 28 hour work week for workers in particular circumstances. Employers counter the demands would require them to hire at least 150,000 more workers at a time when the German manufacturing sector is already struggling to find qualified workers amidst low unemployment. IG Metall is the world's largest labour union and has 3.9 million members. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Credit: Sean Gallup
Credit: Sean Gallup