A Short Animated History of Daylight Saving Time, Narrated by Stephen Fry

Several weeks back, we contemplated how, in the 1650s, the economic history of the West changed irrevocably when Christiaan Huygens invented the pendulum clock  — a timepiece that enabled us to measure time in accurate, uniform ways, making us attentive to the passage of time and focus on things like productivity and performance. Watch “A Briefer History of Time” to get more on that.

By the 18th century, Ben Franklin, America’s great Enlightenment figure, thought of another way to discipline time and squeeze more productivity out of us. While an envoy in France, Franklin suggested that Parisians save money on candles by getting out of bed earlier and profit from the morning sunlight. Not a surprising suggestion from the man who famously said: “Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” In the video above, Stephen Fry tells you the rest of the Daylight Saving story. And just a reminder, Europe springs its time forward tonight.

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Related Content:

How Clocks Changed Humanity Forever, Making Us Masters and Slaves of Time

Stephen Fry Explains Humanism in 4 Animated Videos: Happiness, Truth and the Meaning of Life & Death

Stephen Fry Explains the Rules of Cricket in 10 Animated Videos


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