An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Our signal in Bonners Ferry and Omak is seriously impaired due to weather— Learn more here.

Time Change: Where Did It Come From?

This weekend brings the biannual time-tinkering - either a blessing or a curse, depending on your point of view - as we switch from Daylight Saving Time to standard time again. Politicians have been tinkering with time at least since the Roman empire days when water clocks were adjusted to mark daylight hours. 

Former Washington Senator Slade Gorton was a key lawmaker involved with extending DST back in 1987. He attached a rider to a non-controversial bill about fire-fighting, which extended DST from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday of that month,

It happened that a lobbying coalition of business groups which favored a longer observance of DST had formed that year, largely driven and funded by Clorox, which owned Kingsford Charcoal, and by 7-Eleven.

The Daylight Saving Time Coalition, as it was called, concluded that their business interests could make millions of dollars more with more afternoon and evening daylight.

It's said that both Idaho senators at the time - Jim McClure and Steve Symms - voted for the extension on the theory that fast-food restaurants would sell more French fries - made, of course, from Idaho spuds. Whether the story is true or just political folklore is unclear.

By the way - if you argue your case for or against DST in the hearing of a purist, be sure and leave the "S" off the middle word - It's singular.

Related Content