Saturday, November 01st, 2008 | Author:

In my previous post on Daylight Savings Time, Mrs. M. pointed out that we can lay the blame (or credit) at the feet of Ben Franklin. I remembered having heard this before, so I went digging around, and came up with this post at WebExhibits.org. It seems that Mr. Franklin, 87 and living in Paris, where he and everyone else slept until noon, suggested daylight savings time in a parody called “An Economical Project.”

To answer skeptics who cried that old habits are hard to change, and it would be difficult to induce the population of Paris to rise before noon, Franklin proposed the following regulations:
  1. A tax be laid on every window built with shutters to keep out the light of the sun.
  2. Candles rationed to one pound per family per week, and the regulation enforced by the constabulary.
  3. Guards posted to stop the passage of all coaches, etc. upon the streets after sunset except those of physicians, surgeons and midwives.
  4. Every morning as soon as the sun shall rise, church bells and, if necessary, cannon shall inform the citizenry of the advent of light and “awaken the sluggards effectually and make them open their eyes to see their true interests … All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days; after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present irregularity. … Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is probable he will go willingly to bed at eight in the evening.”

Given this new information, what might the Native American in my previous post on DST have to say? Finish the following statement, and I’ll give you three stars – and a link!

Only a white man …

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