Sunday, November 3, 2013

Establishing Time Zones


The idea of saving daylight was the brainchild of the father of a lot of our country's bright ideas - Benjamin Franklin, according to Heidi G. Yacker, of the Congressional Research Service Library, although the idea was not adapted at the time of his suggestion. In fact, it made a lot of Frenchmen very angry.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is not a new concept. In 1784, when Benjamin Franklin was Minister to France, an idea occurred to him: in that part of the year when the sun rises while most people are still asleep, clocks could be reset to allow an extra hour of daylight during waking hours. He calculated that French shopkeepers could save one million francs per year on candles. In 1907, William Willett, a British builder, Member of Parliament, and fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, proposed the adoption of advanced time. The bill he introduced was reported favorably, asserting that DST would move hours of work and recreation more closely to daylight hours, reducing expenditures on artificial light. There was much opposition, however, and the idea was not adopted.
During World War I, in an effort to conserve fuel, Germany began observing DST on May 1, 1916. As the war progressed, the rest of Europe adopted DST. 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 on March 19, 1918 (40 Stat 450). It both established standard time zones and set summer DST to begin on March 31, 1918. The idea was unpopular, however, and Congress abolished DST after the war, overriding President Wilson's veto. DST became a local option and was observed in some states until World War II, when President Roosevelt instituted year-round DST, called 'War Time,' on February 9, 1942. It lasted until the last Sunday in September 1945. The next year, many states and localities adopted summer DST.

When Benjamin Franklin was Minister to France, he half-jokingly postulated that clocks in France should be reset to allow an extra hour of daylight during waking hours. He calculated in a 1784 letter to the Journal of Paris that French shopkeepers could save one million francs a year on candles. He also liked the idea on a personal level, as he lost a lot of daylight by sleeping so late.


When Congress decided to establish time zones at the behest of the U.S. and Canadian railroads in 1918, with the Standard Time Act, it established daylight saving time at the same time. Public protest of the idea led to repeal of daylight saving time a year later, and instituting daylight time was left up to municipalities, according to Yacker. But when WWII came along, it was re-established nationally to save fuel costs for the war effort, (Mountain Daylight Time was officially referred to as Mountain War Time, according to www.timeanddate.com) and was continuously observed through September,1945.

After WWII, its use varied among states and localities. Congress put an end to that with The Uniform Time Act of 1966, but allowed for local exemptions from its observance in April and October.  To this day, in fact Hawaii, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, parts of Arizona, and most recently, part of Indiana, are exempt. Arizona, which straddles two time zones, has a climate that favors the evening for sports and other activities. And farmers in Indiana were concerned about lost planting time. They also cited University of California research that would cost Hoosiers much in increased electricity bills, from higher energy costs, as well as increased pollution emissions.

During the energy crisis of the early to mid-seventies, Congress enacted earlier starting dates for daylight time, just as Benjamin Franklin would have appreciated. Congress has tinkered with those dates until The Energy Policy Act of 2005, changing to our present day March and November changeovers.


Currently, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is observed in the United States from 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in April until 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in October. The following states and territories do not observe DST: Arizona, Hawaii, part of Indiana, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

It's Scientifically Proven: Night Owls Are Smarter
The idea of saving daylight was the brainchild of the father of a lot of our country's bright ideas - Benjamin Franklin, according to Heidi G. Yacker, of the Congressional Research Service Library, although the idea was not adapted at the time of his suggestion. In fact, it made a lot of Frenchmen very angry.

When Benjamin Franklin was Minister to France, he half-jokingly postulated that clocks in France should be reset to allow an extra hour of daylight during waking hours. He calculated in a 1784 letter to the Journal of Paris that French shopkeepers could save one million francs a year on candles. He also liked the idea on a personal level, as he lost a lot of daylight by sleeping so late.


When Congress decided to establish time zones at the behest of the U.S. and Canadian railroads in 1918, with the Standard Time Act, it established daylight saving time at the same time. Public protest of the idea led to repeal of daylight saving time a year later, and instituting daylight time was left up to municipalities, according to Yacker. But when WWII came along, it was re-established nationally to save fuel costs for the war effort, (Mountain Daylight Time was officially referred to as Mountain War Time, according to www.timeanddate.com) and was continuously observed through September,1945.

After WWII, its use varied among states and localities. Congress put an end to that with The Uniform Time Act of 1966, but allowed for local exemptions from its observance in April and October.  To this day, in fact Hawaii, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, parts of Arizona, and most recently, part of Indiana, are exempt. Arizona, which straddles two time zones, has a climate that favors the evening for sports and other activities. And farmers in Indiana were concerned about lost planting time. They also cited University of California research that would cost Hoosiers much in increased electricity bills, from higher energy costs, as well as increased pollution emissions.

During the energy crisis of the early to mid-seventies, Congress enacted earlier starting dates for daylight time, just as Benjamin Franklin would have appreciated. Congress has tinkered with those dates until The Energy Policy Act of 2005, changing to our present day March and November changeovers.

It's Scientifically Proven: Night Owls Are Smarter

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Potato Chips

Fried potatoes were first introduced in the United States by Thomas Jefferson in the late 18th century. Jefferson had come across them while he was in Paris. The actual French fry is an American invention but received its name based on the origin country of fried potatoes.

During the early 19th century, fried potatoes steadily gained in popularity. They became a common menu item at restaurants across the country. In 1853, a diner at Moon's Lake House in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., ordered the fried potatoes with his meal. The diner, rumored to have been Cornelius Vanderbilt, sent the potatoes back to the kitchen with a complaint that they were not crispy enough. The chef at the restaurant, George Crum, apparently was furious with the criticism. So he sliced the potatoes paper-thin, salted them heavily and refried them. Ironically, instead of ruining the meal for the diner, Crum's creation was a hit with the patron.

The owner of Moon's Lake House, realizing that the chips were delicious, made them a menu item. Eventually, Crum opened his own restaurant that featured the thin, fried potatoes. He called them Saratoga Chips. As word of the chips got out, other restaurants began to serve them. It wasn't long before potato chips were a staple at restaurants across the country.

William Tappendon of Cleveland, Ohio, is credited with taking the potato chip out of the restaurant and into the grocery store. In 1895, he began selling potato chips to local grocers and turned his barn into the world's first potato chip factory. During the early 1900s, several companies built large factories for the mass production of potato chips. And the 1920s saw the birth of three companies that define the potato chip industry:
  • Earl Wise, Sr. had too many potatoes at his Wise Delicatessen Company, which was founded in Berwick, Pa., in 1921. He decided to make potato chips out of the extras and sell them in brown paper bags through the delicatessen as Wise Potato Chips.
  • Herman Lay began selling potato chips in the south, and in 1932, he founded Lay's in Nashville, Tenn., as a distributor for a chip factory in Atlanta, Ga. In 1938, Lay purchased the chip factory and started selling Lay's Brand Potato Chips.
  • In 1921, Bill and Salie Utz founded Utz Quality Foods in Hanover, Pa. Utz marketed and sold chips made by his wife Salie, called Hanover Home Brand Potato Chips.

Today, potato chips are America's favorite snack food and come in an amazing number of varieties. Modern factories mass produce the chips using continuous fryers or flash frying. Some chips are made from reconstituted potato flakes instead of raw potato slices. You can learn more about the history of the potato chip and how the chips are made by visiting the sites below.