THE PART PLAYED BY DAYLIGHT SAVING
How "City Farmers" Were Enabled to Take Time by the Forelock
Because of the Daylight Saving Law war
gardens added far more to the nation's food supply in the season of 1918 than
would have been possible otherwise. This law was in operation during seven
months of the year, from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in
October. The impetus which this gave to the movement and the material gain
resulting therefrom were almost inestimable. That the measure increased by many
millions of dollars the value of the food grown is undoubted.
An idea of what this extra hour of daylight meant to the war
gardeners of the country may be gathered from the actual amount of working time
it presented as a free gift to the home food producers. This extra hour given
each afternoon to the war gardener meant a total of 182 hours during seven
months of twenty-six working days each. Multiplying this figure by the number of
war gardeners in the United States–5,285,000–it gives the stupendous aggregate
of 961,870,000 hours of time, or 329,407 years of eight-hour days.
More than 300,000 years were thus added to this one industry
alone by a single piece of legislation, laws similar to which had been adopted
by fifteen other countries before the United States followed their example in
the spring of 1918.
To secure the passage of the Daylight Saving Law the
National War Garden Commission used its influence, and many of the leaders in
the war-garden movement throughout the country urged upon Congress the vital
need and the value of this statute. The congressional committee which had the
measure in charge showed its realization of the effect the law would have on
gardening by mentioning it most prominently in its report. This document said in
In view of the increased food production which will
be brought about under the bill, the comfort and the convenience which it will
bring to laborers and the public generally, and the saving of expenses,
especially relating to light and fuel, it is believed by our committee that the
measure should be enacted.
That the measure accomplished all that was expected of it,
and was of inestimable value in helping the United States in its gigantic war
preparations, is the testimony of the nation. In a statement on the subject at
the conclusion of the first year's operation of the law, Senator Calder of New
York, author of the bill, called particular attention to its benefit to war
gardeners. He said:
The Daylight Saving Law which became effective on
the last Sunday in March has more than fulfilled the prophecies of its
advocates. It has really turned one hour of night into day. People live by
custom. They rise in the morning by the clock; they eat their meals by the
clock, and go to bed by the clock, so that during the time this law has been in
operation a vast majority of the people of this country have been awake one hour
more of daylight and asleep one hour more of dark than they were formerly. This
additional hour of daylight has been most helpful to the men, women, and
children of the nation who have taken advantage of it to plant war gardens,
thereby not only relieving the strain upon the farm but to a very considerable
degree tending toward economy in family expenditures. It has also saved in gas
and electric bills not less than ten per cent. of the money formerly spent for
this purpose. In addition, it has saved during its seven months of operation
this year at least one million tons of coal. It has afforded in the construction
of cantonments for our army, in the manufacture of munitions and war supplies of
every character, and in the building of ships one hour more of daylight for the
men engaged in these industries.
It is a universal practice for working men and women to
begin their day's labor at eight o'clock and in some industries at seven o'clock
in the morning. They cannot be induced to work before seven o'clock, but, with
the long evening produced by this law, those who labor have been induced to work
additional hours at night where the exigencies of the occasion demanded it.
Without question this bill has been most helpful in the great war work in which
this nation was engaged.
AGE LIMIT ON PATRIOTISM
Although more than ninety years of age, Mrs. Thomas L. Edwards, of Oberlin Ohio,
looked after her own war garden and did all the work except the initial plowing.
Then when canning time came she put up a lot of vegetables for herself and sent
some as a Thanksgiving present to relatives. She was born in Wales and had a
number of nephews and grand-nephews at the front.
The Daylight Saving Law will be in
effect again in 1919 and each succeeding year unless it is revoked by further
legislation, for the bill as passed provided that "at two o'clock antemeridian
of the last Sunday in March of each year the standard time of each zone shall be
advanced one hour, and at two o'clock antemeridian of the last Sunday in October
in each year the standard time of the zone shall, by the retarding of one hour,
be returned to the mean astronomical time of the degree of longitude governing
said zone." Its benefits, therefore, will continue, and as the number of home
food producers increases the resulting gain will be greater.