U.S. At War: You've Got To Get Up

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Farmers snarled, radiomen howled, railwaymen whistled, but Congress decided to give the U.S. daylight-saving time—the year round, for the duration.

The House rejected Burt Wheeler's Senate bill, authorizing the President to set clocks forward or back one hour or two hours, at his discretion. The House bill, which Senate conferees are expected to adopt this week, provides that all clocks will be set ahead uniformly one hour.

Some morning next month, 20 days after President Roosevelt signs the bill, in cold houses all over the U.S. the day will start an hour earlier.

As in 1917, when the U.S. first adopted daylight time as a war measure, farmers were the loudest objectors. The cow, they cried, is a delicately balanced creature, yields less milk for defense when her hours are disturbed. The dew, they insisted, stays on the grass until 9 a.m. (10 a.m. daylight saving time), and farmers cannot work their fields until the dew dries. Rising before dawn, they declared, they would be dog-tired long before day's end. Said New York's blue-blood dairyman Representative James Wolcott Wadsworth: "Your net gain is fatigue for the farmer."

To these outcries, lean, long Representative Clarence F. Lea of California retorted that cows, like people, soon accustom themselves to new habits; that farmers are used to summer's daylight time; that most farmers pay no attention to clocks anyhow, will work as they always have, from dawn to dusk. It was the old argument, which will never be settled so long as some men live in cities and others on farms.

Some Congressmen could not see why in winter, when days are short, the extra hour of daylight gained by sending workers home before dark would not be lost again in the morning, by getting them up before dawn. Clarence Lea explained: home consumption, morning or night, is of secondary importance; the peak consumption of power is caused by factories and offices between 5 and 7 p.m. By cutting down on this load, the Administration hopes to save 736,282,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year—enough juice to produce over 70,000,000 Ib. of much-needed aluminum for planes.