It's that time of year again.
Daylight saving time (DST) for fall 2012 will occur on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 a.m.
U.S. residents will prepare to wind their clocks back one hour, with the exception of the states of Arizona and Hawaii, where the tradition is not observed.
The idea of DST was reportedly first introduced by Benjamin Franklin in a jesting suggestion that Paris could save money on candles by adopting the system.
According to the National Atlas of the United States, standard time zones in the U.S. were begun by railroads in 1883. With the ability to travel long distances in a short amount of time, railroad companies had a need for a standard time zones in order to accurately schedule stops at various localities. Many of these localities followed their own "sun times," which were determined by a locally prestigious clock, such as one on a local church steeple.
The U.S. Department of Transportation outlines that the original time zone system adopted by railroad companies consisted of four zones (eastern, central, mountain, and Pacific). Time zones in the U.S. were later expanded to include the following: Atlantic, eastern, central, mountain, Pacific, Hawaii–Aleutian, Samoa, and Chamorro.
Standard time zones were not part of established law until the Standard Time Act of 1918, which laid out specific time zones for the continental U.S. and also established DST, according to the National Atlas of the United States.
According to the United States Naval Observatory, DST was repealed in 1919, at which time it became an issue debated by local governments, but it was reinstated during World War II and standardized under the Uniform Time Act (UTA) of 1966. The UTA decreed that daylight time would begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October each year at 2 p.m. local time. The UTA allowed for local exemptions from observance.
In 1974, daylight saving time began in January, and in 1975, it began in February, due to an energy crisis, as declared by Congress. In 1986, the U.S. reverted to the original dates declared by the UTA, according to the United States Naval Observatory.
For 1987, the starting date was changed to the first Sunday in April, but the end date remained the same. In 2005, both dates were changed under the Energy Policy Act, and as of 2007, the beginning date for DST is the second Sunday in March, and the end date is the first Sunday in November, according to the United States Naval Observatory.