Don#039;t forget to #8216;spring forward#039; this weekend

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

It's back, Daylight Saving Time, that is. This weekend, Daylight Saving Time kicks off at 2 a.m. Sunday, April 2.

That means everybody needs to remember to set those clocks forward one hour before bedtime Saturday.

Longer days will be on tap until October 29, 2006, when clocks &#8220fall back” once again.

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While those longer days mean more &#8220fun in the sun” gardening in the yard, playing, swimming and such, it turns out DST also saves energy and money.

Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation show Americans trim the entire country's electricity usage by about one percent each day with Daylight Saving Time.

A poll the DOT conducted indicated Americans also truly enjoy that &#8220extra light to do more in the evenings.”

So it's a great idea, but who first came up with the idea of &#8220borrowing” an extra hour of daylight?

You can blame it on the trains, in a manner of speaking.

Standard time zones first came into being back in the 1880s for use by the railroads. Until then, different states, counties, territories and cities often had clocks set at different times.

It was actually possible to board at train at 2 p.m. in one city and move back in time one-and-a-half hours before arriving at your next stop.

These differences in times made scheduling a nightmare. The railroads welcomed Sir Sanford Fleming's development of a worldwide system for keeping time.

While the idea of extending the day by changing clocks had been kicked around at least since Benjamin Franklin's day, it wasn't put into practice until the U.S. entered WW I, and needed to conserve resources for the war effort. Observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919, DST was so unpopular, the law was soon repealed.

On February 9, 1942, with the country at war once again, America began observing Daylight Saving Time. The clock remained advanced one hour forward year-round until September 30, 1945.

From 1945 until 1966, there was no U.S. law in place about DST, so states and localities were free to observe Daylight Saving Time when and if they wanted to.

Mass confusion? You bet, especially for the broadcasting industry, along with trains and buses. New schedules had to be published every time a state or town began or ended Daylight Saving Time.

In 1966, Congress decided to end the confusion and establish one pattern across the country, to begin on the last Sunday in April and to end on the last Sunday in October. In 1986, this was amended to begin DST on the first Sunday in April.

The nation is up for another change to Daylight Saving Time in 2007. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, DST begins three weeks earlier than previously beginning next year, on the second Sunday in March. DST is extended one full week to the first Sunday in November (allowing extra daylight for the little trick-or-treaters to roam).