Sunday marks the time of the year many of us hate — when we set the clocks back, cutting the evening hours short and making our after-work commute dark and depressing.
At 2 a.m. Sunday, or before they go to sleep tonight, Americans will set clocks back an hour to mark the end of Daylight Saving Time, which officially began on March 12 this year.
Founding father Ben Franklin was the first to develop the concept when he penned the essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” suggesting that people wouls save money on candle wax when they get up earlier, LiveScience reports.
But the idea didn’t take off until 1907 when William Willett introduced “British Summer Time,” also known as Daylight Saving Time, National Geographic reported. Like Franklin’s idea, Willett’s was focused on adding more morning hours during daylight.
Willett is Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s great-great grandfather, BBC News reported. In Coldplay’s song “Clocks,” there’s a hidden reference in the opening lyrics about Daylight Saving Time, saying “the lights go out and I can’t be saved.”
Willett’s idea to set the clocks backward was first implemented by the German government in 1907, during World War I as a way to conserve energy by using less coal, National Geographic reported. Eventually, England, the U.S. and several other countries fighting the Germans implemented Daylight Saving Time.
But do we still need Daylight Saving Time? Many people have criticized that Daylight Saving Time is unnecessary because it’s questionable whether the system actually saves on energy, according to National Geographic.
Two states and several territories don’t follow Daylight Saving Time: Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Island.
Less than 40 percent of countries use Daylight Saving Time, according to Time and Date.