Dear Sun Spots: I am curious as to the inception of daylight-saving time: When it started? What was the reason and which states do not participate and why? Thanks. – G.B., Bryant Pond.

According to the Web site, daylight-saving time has been used in the United States and in many European countries since World War I. During World War I, in an effort to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power, Germany and Austria began saving daylight at 11 p.m. on April 30, 1916, by advancing the hands of the clock one hour until the following October.

This action was immediately followed by other countries in Europe: Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey. Britain began three weeks later, on May 21, 1916. In 1917, Australia, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia initiated it.

The plan was not formally adopted in the United States until 1918. “An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States” was enacted March 19, 1918. It both established standard time zones and set summer daylight-saving time to begin on March 31, 1918. It placed the country on daylight saving for the remainder of WW I, and it was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919. The law, however, proved so unpopular (mostly because people rose earlier and went to bed earlier than we do today) that the law was repealed in 1919 despite President Wilson’s veto. It became a local option, and was continued in a few states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island) and some cities (including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago).

Then, during World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round daylight-saving time, called “war time.” (from Feb. 2, 1942, to Sept. 30, 1945). From 1945 to 1966, there was no federal law about daylight saving. States and localities were free to choose whether to observe it, and could choose when it began and ended.

Naturally, this caused confusion, especially for the broadcasting industry, and for railways, airlines and bus companies. Radio and TV stations, and the transportation companies had to publish new schedules every time a state or town began or ended daylight saving.

On Jan. 4, 1974, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Daylight Saving Time Energy Act of 1973. Beginning Jan. 6, 1974, implementing this act, clocks were set ahead for a 15-month period, through April 27, 1975.

Under legislation enacted in 1986, daylight-saving time in the U.S. begins at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and ends at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.

According to, the federal law that established “daylight time” in this country does not require any area to observe daylight saving time.

But, if a state chooses to observe daylight time, it must follow the starting and ending dates set by that 1986 law.

Daylight-saving time, for the U.S. and its territories, is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Eastern Time Zone portion of the state of Indiana or by most of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona).

Instead they stay on Greenwich Mean Time or “standard time” all year long. Why, Sun Spots has not been able to determine.

• The Sept. 2nd column provided an incorrect phone number for a consignment shop, The Clothes Rack, Capital Shopping Center in Augusta. The correct number is (207) 622-5587. The shop is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Inform Us section under Press Release.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.