Daylight Saving Time Begins, 1916, Part II

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

An earlier posting noted that after many years of consideration around the World, Imperial Germany and Austria-Hungary became the first countries to institute Daylight Saving Time.  Great Britain and France soon followed suit.

The U.S. embassy in London reported the beginning of “summer time” in the following telegram:[1]

Telegram text: Summer time law becomes effective 2:00 tomorrow morning. From then until October 1st difference in time between London and Washington will be 6 hours instead of 5.
US Embassy Great Britain to Dept of State, Telegram 4337, May 20, 1916

A short time later, the U.S. consulate general in Paris reported the implementation of the French law decree on “daylight saving” in the following telegram:[2]

In conformity daylight saving law decree June 10th orders legal hour advanced 60 minutes at 23rd hour June 14th, normal time to be reestablished October 1st.
US Consulate General Paris to Dept of State, June 13, 1916

In 1917, after the reinstitution of “summer time” in Britain for a second year, the consulate general in London sent the following report which includes some background on the concept:[3]

Daylight Savings Bill in the United Kingdom
references Ben Franklin first proposing the idea, brought to Britain by William Willet
Memo continues - listing benefits of savings time: promote greater use of daylight, facilitate training of Territorial Force, reduce expenditure on artificial light
US Consulate General London, June 20, 1917

[1] U.S. Embassy Great Britain to Department of State, Telegram 4337, May 20, 1916, file 841.92511/16, 1910-29 Central Decimal File (NAID 302021), RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.  The Department sent copies to the Secretary of the Navy and to the Secretary of Agriculture.  See Acting Secretary of State Alvey A. Adee to the Secretary of the Navy and to the Secretary of Agriculture, May 22, 1916, file 841.92511/16, 1910-29 Central Decimal File, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State. 

[2] U.S. Consulate General Paris to Department of State, Unnumbered telegram, June 13, 1916, file 841.92511/1, 1910-29 Central Decimal File
(NAID 302021), RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.

[3] U.S. consulate General London, Unnumbered report, June 20, 1917, file 841.92511/20, 1910-29 Central Decimal File
(NAID 302021), RG 59: General Records of the Department of State. 

One thought on “Daylight Saving Time Begins, 1916, Part II

  1. Alexander Thackara, who signed the June 13, 1916 telegram from Paris, was the Consul General there. He had previously served as Consul General at Berlin–and was the son-in-law of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

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