Sunday, March 13, 2016

Happy Daylight Saving Time Day

The Conway Public Library’s magnificent clock tower provides insight into today’s annual time marking event to “spring” ahead.  Thoreau said “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in”  but how has it been shaped to serve our purposes?


To avoid pandemonium, come Monday morning hopefully we will have adjusted our wrist watch, alarm clock, automobile clocks, cell phone, computer clock, microwave and DVD player displays, etc. While some of these reset automatically, some do not. In some cases, we might even add 10 to 15 minutes to fool ourselves to think we are late in our morning blur, so we are not actually late to work.
Nestled quietly below the base of the library clock tower, the archives in the Henney History Room sheds light and a deeper understanding on this event. Census, tax, receipts, and other written records put specific names to the farmers who used to rise before the sun to take advantage of natural light. While it was in their name that many people believe that we developed daylight saving time, history tells us that it was more the influence of the city people, the railroad developers, and especially the cigar stores and the military that prompted its acceptance.
If you want to know more about your ancestors and the kind of work they did, (farmer, merchant, manufacturer) you can check out our genealogical databases. Our local tax assessments included more details such as what kind of livestock they raised and if they owned an automobile and if so, what kind.  
Our clock tower represents a transition in the marking of time. It is a community clock complete with a bell and weathervane that used to announce the time and coming weather to those on their way to one of the many factories in the village and to those working in the surrounding fields at a time when few carried their own watches.

The awareness of this community technology was quite a surprising revelation to a number of recent school groups who recently visited the Conway Public Library for a special environmental perspective on history. Our colorful Sanborn insurance maps showed the location of watch and clock repair shops and our newspaper collections showed ads for stores selling watches and the key role they used to play as significant holiday gifts.

Daylight saving time also ties into our ongoing research about the “homefront” in Conway during World War One. The practice is identified in the Wall Street Journal’s series on 100 years, 100 legacies from World War 1 that continue to shape our lives today.

There was poster propaganda effort supported by the United Cigar Stores Company to promote the practice.






… that may be due to the improper phrasing of the message.
While many people render the term’s second word in its plural form, since the word “saving” acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb, the singular is correct.

So please be politically and grammatically correct. For more info or advice contact or comment us.


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