Monday, March 5, 2012
Daylight Saving Time, Already!
Daylight Saving Time starts Saturday, March 10, (actually during the wee hours of Sunday morning but who is going to stay up till 2 a.m. to reset the time?). Don't forget to move your clocks ahead one hour.
Or as the old saying goes: "Fall Back; Spring Forward!"
Although the idea of Daylight Saving Time was mentioned by Ben Franklin back in 1784, the idea did not catch on then. It took until 1895, when it was proposed once more, this time by a fellow named George Vernon Hudson, and implemented during World War I. Personally, I think I would have had more of a tendency to listen to Ben than to G.V. but that is how history went.
Franklin proposed the idea of daylight saving time, while in Paris, in an unsigned article that was filled with his customary good humor as well as his scientific insights. Realizing that candle or oil lighting was much more expensive than daylight, Franklin determined just how much a family might save, and then, how much the city of Paris might save.
Ben figured that 100,000 Parisian families burned half a pound of candles per hour for an average of seven hours per day (which was the average time for the summer months between dusk and the supposed bedtime of Parisians). What he found was this:
"183 nights between 20 March and 20 September times 7 hours per night of candle usage equals 1,281 hours for a half year of candle usage. Multiplying by 100,000 families gives 128,100,000 hours by candlelight. Each candle requires half a pound of tallow and wax, thus a total of 64,050,000 pounds. At a price of thirty sols per pounds of tallow and wax (two hundred sols make one livre tournois), the total sum comes to 96,075,000 livre tournois.
"An immense sum," penned Franklin, "that the city of Paris might save every year."
As for the terminology, DST is most correctly rendered: "Daylight Saving Time" without any word having an "s" on the end of it.
This is your timely message for today!