Benjamin Franklin Invented Daylight Savings Time as a Joke, But Here We Are Still Doing it 233 Years Later

Every biannual occurrence of Daylight Savings Time, people somehow act like it’s the FIRST time it has ever happened. We complain, we wonder why we still do it, we remind every person in our lives to turn the clocks back even though 99 percent of our devices do it for us automatically.

And apparently all along there has been one person to blame for it: Benjamin Franklin.

Daylight savings is DEPRESSING. Until like last year, I could’ve sworn it took three days to get adjusted to the new time, but apparently it really only lasts for the one singular Sunday in which you are tricked into thinking you’ve either lost or gained an hour of sleep. False!

And honestly, I still was kind of hyped for daylight savings this fall because as a 24-year-old with an unbearable 9-5 job, I’ve been lacking motivation to get up at my normal time of 6:05 when it’s pitch dark and getting chillier by the day. Darkness is no motivation to show up to work on time.


So, back to ol’ Ben, this politically powerful jokester said something like, “How funny would it be to change the time twice a year so we could make the most of the natural light?” He didn’t think people would actually listen to him considering time was like the most reliable, real thing out there back in 1784. You can’t just decide to change the time one day, that’s ridiculous.

Well, fast forward to 1916 in Germany where they start observing DST to conserve energy and resources during the first World War. So yeah, maybe they started it. Then, the U.S. finally followed suit after Ben’s premonition two years later in 1918 and never looked back (well, sort of). People questioned it back then, too, The time change was not a requirement so some people and places observed, and some didn’t. That makes zero sense, but OK, let’s keep going.

In 1966, the Uniform Time Act was put into effect, but it wasn’t legit! It was meant to standardize the days we changed the clocks, but still, no one knew when the time changed, because even THAT changed so often.

But alas, in 2007, we finally began formalizing DST: it begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

So fine, maybe we haven’t been doing it fo’ real all that long, but it all started with one little idea from America’s O.G., Ben Franklin. Thanks for the fake extra hour of sleep and an entire winter of evening darkness, dude.

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