“War Time” Daylight Saving Begins: February 9, 1942

U.S. Presidential Inauguration: January 20, 2017

On February 9, 1942, “War Time”—a year-round daylight saving time—began in the United States. Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the year-round daylight saving time required that clocks be moved ahead one hour for the remainder of the war as a national defense measure to conserve energy.

Missouri votes on daylight saving time, 1947America first implemented a partial-year daylight saving time in March 1918, during World War I, and though there was popular support for the wartime measure, there was also disapproval, primarily from farmers and the railroads. The national daylight saving time was repealed after the war ended, but it continued on at the local level, especially in the North, East, and parts of the Midwest.

A national daylight saving time was again implemented during World War II, but this time, rather than lasting only part of the year, daylight saving time lasted all year. The purpose of “War Time,” as this form of daylight saving time was called, was to conserve power and provide extra daylight for war industries to increase production. As with World War I, after World War II ended, the national daylight saving time was quickly repealed, but it remained a local issue, with each state, city, and even business deciding whether it would adopt daylight saving time or not.

This patchwork form of daylight saving time caused much inconvenience and confusion, and in 1966 a national law was signed calling for daylight saving time to fall from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, with the option for states to exempt themselves. The energy crisis of the 1970s once again prompted the adoption of a year-round daylight saving time beginning in January 1974, but it actually only lasted 10 months, as legislation was signed adjusting yet again the time period of daylight saving time.

Another bill was signed in 1986 that moved daylight saving time to the period from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday of October. This remained the law for many years until the most recent daylight saving legislation, implemented in 2007, set daylight saving time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

Daylight saving time has remained a contentious issue in the United States ever since it was first implemented during World War I, as people debate its effect on energy, safety, farming, and much more. However, most of the United States now follows daylight saving time, with the exception of Arizona, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories.

Want to learn more about the history of daylight saving time? Start a search on Newpapers.com!

78 thoughts on ““War Time” Daylight Saving Begins: February 9, 1942

    • No, no, no. Have it all the time. One year during the gas crisis in the 70’s, it was the whole year.

      • That year I worked as a crossing guard. It made it very difficult and dangerous to cross children at 8:00 in the morning because it was still dark outside. I was grateful they only did it the one year.

          • Some of the original intent was good. It is now for people to play golf after work. Farmers and ranchers work before sun up to after sundown no matter what the time

      • Wow. I was 11 that year and remember the energy crisis but not the 10 month daylight savings time. I do remember my mother buying me a bunch of sweatshirts because the school kept the heat lower than usual.

        • I’m with you. I like being able to do things with my husband in the yard after he gets home. Now when he gets home at 5pm, by 5:30 it’s getting to dark to do anything. By 6pm it’s already dark. I’d rather let it get dark later. Plus parents can play with their children outside after work without it getting dark by 6pm

          • Angela–

            With Daylight-Saving-Time, it gets dark later.

            If, by Standard-Time, it gets back at 6:00 p.m., then, by Daylight-Saving-Time, it gets back at 7:00 p.m.

            If you want more daylight after work, then you want Daylight-Saving-Time.

            I advocate year-round Daylight-Saving-Time, so it’s light during more of the time when we’re up, including in the late afternoon and early evening.

            The change back and forth between Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time is a sleep-schedule disruption that people can’t adjust to.

            So let’s leave it on Daylight-Saving-Time all year, and have more daylight hours while we’re up, and do things earlier instead of later.

            Michael Ossipoff

          • I’m with you Michael, leave it like you said. Plus you’re right, it is a big disruption with sleep. Lets just leave it Daylight savings time. That way you have more time with family doing things outside instead of being stuck inside cause it’s already too dark by 6pm

    • Daylight Savings is a GREAT idea -For the WINTER; There is plenty of sunshine in summer especially up here in the north

      • So what if the sun goes down at 8 or 7:30 instead of 9pm? Is it going to kill you? At least you’ll have an extra moonlight serenade hour during the summer and make it easier to star gaze instead of getting up at 3am to do it.

        • I daresay it won’t kill you unless you get mugged or attacked because you’re out in the late afternoon or early evening, and it’s already night. Or unless you get hit by a car during those busy night-time periods.

          But, in addition to safety, it’s more about what you’d _like_.

          Maybve you’re a night-person, and that’s your right.

          Some people like to have more daylight hours during the time when they’re up. Some people would like to have a little daylight left after work, even in the winter.

          Some would like to do things earlier. Start the day earlier, be up for the beginning of the day. Get off work, or out of school earlier, to have more daytime to do what you want to.

          It will just depend on how most people feel about that.

          Michael Ossipoff

    • Human Egos starving for Control over the world – “TIME”- people -lives and Minds .Yet,haven’t any Control within themselves or the “TIME” to do it.
      The World and it’s inhabitants Desperately need to get back on track to GOD’S TIME. NOW !!!

      • Do you see God’s time as standard time or sun time? Standard time seems common although it only started in the 19th century due to the railroads. Before that, each town tended to set its own time and 12 noon was when the sun was highest in the sky. So I guess sun time rather than standard time should be God’s time, but that would play havoc these days for transport, meetings, TV, etc.

    • So split the time!! Do a 1/2 hour time change and leave it alone year round. Our pour old bodies dont do change well!!!! Nor do everyones minds!!

      • That would work. That’s exactly what Arizona did. Florida likes the spring ahead an hour and leave it. It gets too dark having to fall back an hour. It’s dark by 6pm here right now. During Spring ahead an hour it gives people more time out side.

  1. Thank you. I was born during the war years, know the time of my birth, and have for years gotten conflicting information about what that meant in relationship to sun time. Several people have insisted that I had to add the “war time” hour in addition to a daylight savings hour. This is the most thorough history I have ever read, and I appreciate it.

  2. Nice article Trevor. You may be interested to know I have researched and written a 400 page ebook on the history of daylight saving time in every country that has ever used it. An important source of material on daylight saving in the US and its states was Newspapers.com. The manuscript is currently with the publishers and is due to be published around late March. I have tried not to take sides in the daylight saving debate. But as you can see from the first comment from Fred, it’s a contentious issue.

  3. As the article says, the scond Sunday in March – so that is correct.
    Australia has it in some states and it’s great – we enjoy long summer evenings of sunlight til 9 pm, and in winter we need to get up in the mornings not in the dark.

  4. In the Nixon years, the all year Daylight Savings time ran into trouble when school kids were getting killed at school bus pickups in the morning, when it was pitch dark. This happened at the western end of each time zone when the sun rises the “latest”.

    • I know it was ridiculous, people had to get up turn on lights to get ready for school or work. Many times lights were accidently left on in the haste to get there on time. I think our legislature in IN keep it to play golf after work. Sad if that’s the reason.

      • I’m getting up in the dark to get ready for work now. It’s just about 7 AM and although it’s a stormy day it’s just now getting light. I don’t even know what real time is anymore; Spring or Fall…. I’d like to see daylights savings time stopped.

        • We “spring” forward on the first Sunday in March, Spring doesn’t occur until the 20th of March. Originally when we “sprang” forward on the last Sunday of March, at least it was Spring. I’ve tried to remember what it was like as a kid living on the farm. Seems like it was just a phrase folks used. It didn’t mean much to me. I still walked to school at the same time, did chores at the same time and ate at the same time.

        • I agree stop daylight savings time. We can’t seem to stop messing with anything in our world. This is foolish!

      • I have always thought that about the golf. I am glad to know I am not the only one.

  5. Make it all year Daylight savings time. Love daylight coming home from work and having a little time to enjoy the outdoors.

    • I agree. Raised on a small farm (no Bovines) and LOVED the extra time. Also lived in Iceland for a year and had daylight 24 hours for a few months! Terrific!

    • Year-round? That would be like not changing it at all. Some people will need to adjust their personal schedule no matter how it is done.

  6. I say get rid of it. With so many things going 24/7 it’s original purpose is a moot point. I don’t think it saves anything. I love in Alaska and it doesn’t do anything for us as we have light most of the spring and summer anyway

  7. I like daylight savings time. so many long hours in the evening of daylight, but then, I really hate mornings so most of my activities are in the evening. I don’t mind getting up in the dark.

  8. i still have trouble adjusting to the ‘Spring Forward’ deal! It causes accidents, and sleepy people. Saskatchewan isnt party to this change .they stay on the “spring” time all year round. Our ancestors did fine without it, I say scrap it .

  9. While I’m an advocate for year-round DST, I have for years thought it humorous that we call the rest of the year “standard” time. One of the dictionary definitions of Standard is “used or accepted as normal or average.” So, if DST lasts more than six months out of the year, which one is really “standard?”

  10. Just pick one time and stick with it – either standard time or daylight savings time (although I prefer daylight savings time)! The semi-annual time changes play havoc with our sleep and productivity. Plus there is absolutely no reason to have the change except some possible special interest that continues to grease our national representatives and senators palms.

    • I like this – pick one time standard and stick with it. But get rid of time changes.
      In Ohio, in the Winter, I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark.

  11. I think it was an old Indian that once said,”Only White Man thinks you can cut 12 inches off top of blanket, sew it on bottom and make blanket longer”. It is nice having longer daylight hours in the summer, but I don’t like the fact the kids have to board school buses in the dark. Would rather go back to the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October if we have to have it.

    • Here in Saskatchewan we don’t do D S Time. But for our kids to go to school in the morning here in the winter one hour later wouldn’t make any difference- it’s STILL dark when they have to board the bus at 7:30 in the morning either time.
      At least by the time they get home in the winter it’s still light fior a little while.
      I would rather kids get on in the dark and we know it will be getting light soon should any bus troubles occur.
      But at night coming home on DST we would still have many hours to contend with in darkness to help out a stranded bus.

      • Where I live, most of the kids that ride the buses live in the country on a dirt road. Makes it rough in bad weather. Of course it there is a lot of ice and snow, school closes. When I lived in the country and road the bus, if I wasn’t at my corner when the bus came the driver wouldn’t wait for me even if he saw me coming. He was bad about that and I lived about a 1/4 mile from the highway. The buses do have a route in town now. They didn’t have one when I was in school. You either walked or a parent took you if you weren’t old enough to drive and had your own car. My senior year, daddy carpooled with a couple of the other kids mothers. They had opened the new school out on the edge of town and it was about a mile and a half from where we lived after we moved to town. Mother didn’t drive and neither did I. Good memories!!

      • Thank you! You know, it just seems like we have more time, time is time no matter what the clock says. Just because we advance the clock we aren’t adding any time to the day. It is still just 24 hours.

        • Another version of the old Indian saying, which might have been the original one, is this: “Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”

          • You are likely right about that. There are a lot of versions to all of the sayings we have. And different claims as to ownership.

  12. There’s a fun movie trailer spoof on “Daylight Saving”, the movie at https://youtu.be/k4EUTMPuvHo I think it sums up the confusion over this silly method of fiddling with our clocks every 6 months. I grew up in Indiana and we didn’t change our clocks. I thought it bizarre that the rest of the country did.

    • Part of
      Indiana did, I don’t know about now. Worked and lived in Bloomington from about 1993 until 1999 they didn’t change but would visit Evansville on days off, because most of my family lived there. Evansville had DST it was so infuriating when we were suppose to be in Evansville at a certain time and had to do the math and remember are we suppose to be there at 2 our time or their time. One town in IN was split on the time, I can’t remember which one. I hate the change.

      • Yes, this sort of thing was common, especially if a state boundary went right down main street. More usual was some organisations in a city would adopt it and others didn’t, e.g. council offices, police stations, the fire brigade and hospitals might adopt it, but state government offices, the railroads, the post office, schools, and various other organisations and public buildings might not. Banks, firms, shops, factories and churches varied. Result: chaos!

        • Yes, Union City is 2/3 in Indiana and 1/3 in Ohio, with the state border going down one of the city’s main roads. Since WWII, Ohio has had daylight saving since 1967. Indiana had it from 1946 to 1954, 1969, 1970, and since 2006. So there was a time difference within the city in a lot of years in the warmer months. Many people lived on one side of the border and went to work or school on the other side. Some families had workers and children on different times. Also taking account of appointments, shopping, catching buses, etc, some people had to change their watches half a dozen times a day. There were quite a few instances of this sort of thing in the US where a city crossed a state border or where adjoining cities had different policies on daylight saving.

      • Is Indiana still half and half on the daylight savings time. I remember going through there on our way to Washington DC, after the time change, I turned my watch ahead to Eastern time only to find out that it was still on regular time. That daylight savings didn’t begin until I got out of Indiana.

  13. Am so frustrated with DST. Fall forward and spring back 1 hr not relevant now and wasn’t in the past.

    One theory suggest that the clock shift was in aid of productivity and most especially for farmers??? Taking crops off in yesteryear occurred as long as there was light to see. Farther north longer hours to accomplish the task!

    Reality? We are adaptive creatures and the “hour” of the day and available light has little to do with our productivity.

    Time change is disruptive to sleep rhythm for approx 30 days. Why bother???

    We, frankly, never needed the change because we will work the number of hours required to accomplish necessary tasks whether in light of day or not!!!

    • Paul is right, the farmers will work even if it is dark. With the modern tractors now days, they have the light needed to plow the fields. My dad didn’t have that feature on his 1942 Farmall tractor. So he had to quit at sundown. The time didn’t matter. It also didn’t have an enclosed cab or air conditioning. Just the good old wind blowing. Before the tractor there was Dick and Charlie, his team of horses. They were ready for the barn at sundown.

    • Absolutely, GET RID of DST!
      Congress passed such laws to give the impression that they are doing something.
      Solve it like the unions did in large factories. Rather than changing the clock the move the 4 to 12 shift to start at 3 and then went to 11.
      There are only so many hours of daylight in a day as a function of the earth’s position. Leave it to the individual to determine how to use those hours.

  14. Some people love daylight saving and others hate it. This is certainly what I found writing the book on daylight saving. It depends on lifestyle, how far east or west a person is in their time zone, and on latitude. Some places are half an hour to an hour or more ahead of the sun in winter and a further hour in summer. Others are well ahead of the sun all year and don’t change their clocks. Most places are fairly close to sun time and some of these go an hour forward in summer. The initial reason for daylight saving was to save energy for the war effort in WWI and WWII. Now it’s probably more about extra light after work. Daylight saving continues to be a contentious issue in many places, more than 100 years after its introduction.

  15. I read that people never adjust to the annual change to daylight-saving time. Tired people who aren’t really awake. Car accidents. Occupational machine-accidents. So yes, the annual change has got to go. Leave it one way or the other, all year.

    It’s said that starting the day before daylight, in the winter, is dangerous? Yeah? Then what about it being dark at or before 5 pm, when people of all ages are still out and going places? So, does avoidance of daylight-saving time really reduce the hours during which kids are out when it isn’t daylight?

    Additionally, I suggest that being out in morning night is safer than being out in evening night, because, in the early morning, being hit by a car is the only danger, and that’s easily avoided. But, in evening night, that’s when attacks by other people are more likely.

    So, from these considerations, I’d suggest that it’s safer to have year-round daylight-saving time. Or maybe just change the work & school hours (a feasible way to change our hours, when no annual changes are needed).

    Additionally, aside from safety reasons, it seems to me that, just on general principle, if you’re going to be up &/or out, when it’s night, then morning night is better, because morning is about to arrive, and the day is about to start.

    Better to have an early start than a late one.

    So: I suggest all-year daylight-saving-time, or a corresponding change in work & school hours.

  16. Think how confusing it must be for our domesticated animals. They get used to being fed at a certain time. Along comes daylight savings, so they are eating in the dark. Then a few months later after they get used to the time, their meal is suddenly an hour late. It’s worse going from one time zone to another. Especially going west, when it is 2 or 3 hours earlier. And that is just stateside. Try going to Hawaii from the central US, you arrive before you left. Time wise, that is.

  17. I’m betting there’s at least one person that commented that’s the “I HATE DST! IT ALWAYS MESSES ME UP.! OMG THE TIME CHANGED I’M SO OUT OF WHACK! IT’S GONNA TAKE A WHILE TO GET USED TO IT! SORRY I’M LATE, THAT DST ALWAYS MESSES ME UP!”

    LMAO

  18. I like the idea of one time without the confusion of uniform switching. Then individuals and organizations, like schools, businesses, government agencies, etc. can set THEIR business houses hours add they see fit. There’s no reason these organizations must be synchronized. The hours can vary and they can choose to synchronize as they see fit. Some time flexibility is pretty common today for office workers, but not so easily for factory workers. Businesses can simply publish their hours on their door or on the internet/Web for all on the web to see.

  19. I say, to get on ONE TIME and stay there. Regardless lif it’s daylight savings or not, and either all the 50 states in the Union Do it or else. Arizona for example; 1/2 the time they’re on Pacific time and the other half, Mountain Time, and they do not change the clocks at all. I live in central Standard time, MO and part of the year we are 1 hour difference and the other part (daylight savings time ) we ate 2 hour difference, and I DO NOT LIKE IT, AND our farm Animals come for feedings and get all confused. Make it one way or the other, all states must apply, except Alaska, Hawaii, Etc and leave it alone! PERIOD. …driving is awful, one day the sun isn’t in your face and the very next day, it shines directly into your face for instead of min by min change it is an hour change!!! Bad FOR ACCIDENTS.

  20. Very nice. Being an Indian I was knowing about the day light saving from my close friend. But detail and history,I knew first time. Thank you so much
    Jyoti Bajaj
    Pathankot,Punjab

  21. New Hampshire is looking at fixing the problem by changing Time Zones (but only if Massachusetts does first)
    “New Hampshire would follow Massachusetts in adopting Atlantic Standard Time, and put an end to “spring forward” and “fall back,” if a bill that passed the House on Thursday clears the Senate and is signed into law. – See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/state-government/Lawmakers-OK-moving-NH-to-a-new-time-zone-02032017#sthash.D2IwtHGl.dpuf

    They figure that Maine would automatically follow suit to reduce confusion.

  22. I can’t wait for daylight saings time to start……sooner would be even better.!!!!!!!!!

    • Always would be best of all.

      And it would avoid the disruption of the annual abrupt change. Researchers have said that, even over the entire daylight-saving part of the year, people never adjust to the abrupt change that happens at the beginning of DST.

      So just leave it DST all year.

      Someone said that DST doesn’t bring more daylight. No, it just means that our up-hours are more in daylight.

      Having our civil “day” earlier in the day, starting it earlier in the morning. Getting an earlier start. Having more of our night hours in morning, instead of in the more violence-prone evening.

      So I advocate advanced-time (DST) all year. Or a corresponding change in the designated clock-hours for work & school.

      Michael Ossipoff

  23. Frankly it should be kept forever more. Buildings in major metro areas should be dark unless there is staff working everywhere that is lighted, or the areas are open for business. We waste a tremendous amount of power in major cities! NYC uses more than 70% of all the power in NYS. But the largest industry in NYS and most other states is agriculture!

  24. I am glad to know I am not the only person that caught the golf aspect. There are numerous studies that indicate that people with sleep disorders and shift work really pay the price for an afternoon round of golf.

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