Questions of Changing Time

October 27, 1991

Moving from daylight savings time back to standard time at 2 o'clock this morning seemed such an easy maneuver. But for decades the daylight savings time concept was a topic of heated disputes and even now Arizona, Hawaii and parts of Iowa do not want anything to do with it.

Daylight savings time was first introduced through a World War I congressional act in 1917 as an electricity saving measure. After the war ended, confusion reigned in the nation. Some industries and institutions wanted to continue the practice, some did not. Various jurisdictions in Iowa, for instance, once had 23 different combinations of dates for the seasonal time change.

In Maryland, daylight savings time remained a hot political issue from 1919 until the onset of World War II, when uniform time changes were again mandated by the federal government. Several bills were introduced in the Baltimore City Council and Maryland General Assembly to enact a law mandating a seasonal time change. Polls were taken, referendums were held. Nothing was resolved.

As daylight savings time was about to end, The Sun reported on Aug. 28, 1922: "Hymns of praise are expected to be sung by moving-picture theater managers, whose business has suffered heavily because of daylight saving; hospital authorities unable to induce their patients to go to sleep with the sun shining; suburbanites with trains to catch and farmers who had to wake up the cows an hour earlier in order to make the milk train."

The Sun strongly advocated seasonal time changes in its editorials and news columns. For a period, The Evening Sun published a daily interview with a Baltimorean advocating daylight savings time. The first one was Bennett Funk, a laborer residing at 277 South Robinson Street. "I'm in favor of daylight saving because it gives you an extra hour of light after work to play ball or do anything else," he said. "I like light and would be in favor of 24 hours of sunshine."

The Uniform Time Act of 1967 standardized time changes in most of America. But the debate continues. Some favor daylight savings time from March to October. And Sen. George J. Mitchell, D-Maine, wants to extend it to the first Sunday in November so children out tricking or treating on Halloween have more light.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.