Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Curse You or Bless You, Robert Garland

This Pittsburgh city councilman helped initiate the shifting of time in America.



Get ready. At 2 in the morning on March 8, we will lose an hour of sleep when daylight-saving time (DST) starts again. Not everybody loves it when we spring forward, waking somewhat groggily on a Sunday morning that’s too early and too bright. Some people, especially farmers (with animals that don’t have clocks) and others (like drive-in theater operators) who want darkness early, hate the annual change. Most of us, however, appreciate the long, leisurely light of summer evenings.

This year the change will be the earliest it’s ever been. According to the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave new, earlier starting and later ending days for DST, we now begin saving daylight on the second Sunday in March, and that Sunday can obviously never be earlier than the 8th. We switch back on the first Sunday in November, which is the 1st this year, also the earliest that the current end day can be.

There was no DST in America till 1918, when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law to help increase productivity during World War I. England had then recently initiated a similar shift in time, and the idea was at least as old as 1784, when the aging Benjamin Franklin wrote to a Paris newspaper with his proposals about taking advantage of sunlight in summer rather than wasting candles to make artificial light.

With daylight-saving time, as with most odd 20th-century ideas and innovations that have a lasting impact on modern life, there’s a significant Pittsburgh connection to its start. An Irishman who immigrated here in the 1880s, a certain Mr. Robert Garland, became a passionate advocate for turning American clocks forward in the summer months to increase industrial productivity and to give people more time for activities (golf! tennis! baseball!) on summer evenings. (Something tells me that the productivity reasoning had more persuasive power than the recreational opportunities.)
Often called the “Father of Daylight Saving,” Garland was an industrialist who ran a factory here, Garland Nuts and Rivets, and he served on Pittsburgh City Council for 28 years from 1911 to 1939. Among his many civic activities, he was president of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, and because of his work with the United States Chamber of Commerce, he was appointed chairman of the national Special Committee on Daylight Saving. He and his committee convinced the powers in Washington to create a law instituting daylight saving.

Although DST, or “fast time,” as it was sometimes called, was repealed just seven months later in 1919, many cities, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston and New York City, kept observing it. And it became a legal guideline again during WWII, when FDR signed legislation in 1942 making it a national legal guideline, sometimes called “war time,” until 1945. Congress eventually made it permanent in 1966. Both presidents Wilson and Roosevelt presented Robert Garland with the pens that were used to sign DST into law.

And Garland took pride in his role of extending the summer evening. He was apparently a strong-willed Irishman who also helped create the Boulevard of the Allies out of what was once Monongahela Boulevard, and he campaigned for the construction of McArdle Roadway. He died in 1949 at age 86. There’s no local statue or monument to him, but there is a PAT bus with his name all over it, honoring a great local leader.

And you can blame him when the night seems short on March 8. And thank him in June, when the Pittsburgh twilight lasts till 9 or 9:30.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

PM on KD: The Fall Weddings Issue

PM Associate Editor Lauren Davidson appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to talk about the fall Weddings issue.

The Airbnb of Camping Has Started Pitching Tents in Pennsylvania

The startup Tentrr connects landowners looking for extra cash with interested campers.

Painting Made Simple: Paintzen Launches in Pittsburgh

Partnering with PPG Paints, the company uses an online platform to match customers with professional painters and provide supplies.

New TV Series Shot in Pittsburgh Area Premiering This Month

See if you recognize any of the locations in the thriller “One Dollar.”

Bocce, Pasta, Music and More Highlight Little Italy Days

Experience Italian culture and cuisine during Bloomfield’s annual Little Italy Days.

Vintage Details Give Weddings Classic Feel

Combining the old and the new, these couples used their vintage details to create a modern-yet-elegant wedding day.

Make Your Mark by Entering Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade

Artists have until Sunday to submit their applications to the independent craft fair held annually in December.

Heinz Red Ketchup Packets Set to Get a Green Makeover

The Kraft Heinz Co. has announced plans to recreate 100 percent of its packaging to make it more environmentally sustainable by 2025.

VisitPITTSBURGH Forecasts Full Fall Schedule

Culture in Pittsburgh this fall expands across the globe — and into space.

TopGolf is Big, Ridiculous, Still Fun

The new driving-range game is way over the top, but the game it's offering is fun and they'll ensure you have a good time.

Apteka’s Roasted Sunflower: Summer's Most Interesting (and Instagramable) Dish?

The owners of the Bloomfield vegan eatery introduce a limited run of whole sunflower heads that you can eat like corn.

Carnegie Art Museum to Sport a More Modern Look This Fall

The outside of the museum will be transformed by four contemporary artists in honor of the 57th Carnegie International.

The 400-Word Review: The Meg

The big, dumb shark flick will keep your attention, but don't think about it for more than a moment.

10 Real Pittsburgh Weddings

Picture-Perfect in every way, these real Pittsburgh wedding couples were chosen from nearly 100 submissions.

Steelers’ Saint Vincent Saga Even More Inspiring This Summer

Ryan Shazier's battle back from a paralyzing injury last season and his subsequent rehabilitation from spinal stabilization surgery is a more compelling saga than the Steelers’ quest to reach Super Bowl LIII.​
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


The Airbnb of Camping Has Started Pitching Tents in Pennsylvania

The Airbnb of Camping Has Started Pitching Tents in Pennsylvania

The startup Tentrr connects landowners looking for extra cash with interested campers.

Comments

New TV Series Shot in Pittsburgh Area Premiering This Month

New TV Series Shot in Pittsburgh Area Premiering This Month

See if you recognize any of the locations in the thriller “One Dollar.”

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Apteka’s Roasted Sunflower: Summer's Most Interesting (and Instagramable) Dish?

Apteka’s Roasted Sunflower: Summer's Most Interesting (and Instagramable) Dish?

The owners of the Bloomfield vegan eatery introduce a limited run of whole sunflower heads that you can eat like corn.

Comments

Pittsburgh's Steel City Salt Company's Special Seasoning

Pittsburgh's Steel City Salt Company's Special Seasoning

John and Candy Tarallo sell an array of speciality salts, offer advice on how to use them and are about to open a new location in Millvale.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
6 Best Places to Get Your Nostalgia Fix in Pittsburgh

6 Best Places to Get Your Nostalgia Fix in Pittsburgh

Ah, the good old days. They may be gone, but there are still a few places where you can get a blast from the past.

Comments

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

Comments


TopGolf is Big, Ridiculous, Still Fun

TopGolf is Big, Ridiculous, Still Fun

The new driving-range game is way over the top, but the game it's offering is fun and they'll ensure you have a good time.

Comments

Five Essential August Events in Pittsburgh

Five Essential August Events in Pittsburgh

Imported improv, indie imbibing and other August attractions.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Saint Vincent Saga Even More Inspiring This Summer

Steelers’ Saint Vincent Saga Even More Inspiring This Summer

Ryan Shazier's battle back from a paralyzing injury last season and his subsequent rehabilitation from spinal stabilization surgery is a more compelling saga than the Steelers’ quest to reach Super Bowl LIII.​

Comments

Suddenly, It's a Whole New Ballgame for Pirates

Suddenly, It's a Whole New Ballgame for Pirates

The non-waiver trade deadline came and went on Tuesday and when the dust had settled, the Pirates were a legitimate contender. They had bought, not sold players and they had positioned themselves to compete, not play out the string in 2018.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: The Meg

The 400-Word Review: The Meg

The big, dumb shark flick will keep your attention, but don't think about it for more than a moment.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: BlacKkKlansman

The 400-Word Review: BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee's captivating new film is an unusual, but almost essential, work of cinema.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Vintage Details Give Weddings Classic Feel

Vintage Details Give Weddings Classic Feel

Combining the old and the new, these couples used their vintage details to create a modern-yet-elegant wedding day.

Comments

When Asking for Their Hand Doesn’t Go As Planned

When Asking for Their Hand Doesn’t Go As Planned

These proposal faux pas serve as a reminder that sometimes things have to go wrong to end up right.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Painting Made Simple: Paintzen Launches in Pittsburgh

Painting Made Simple: Paintzen Launches in Pittsburgh

Partnering with PPG Paints, the company uses an online platform to match customers with professional painters and provide supplies.

Comments

Make Your Mark by Entering Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade

Make Your Mark by Entering Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade

Artists have until Sunday to submit their applications to the independent craft fair held annually in December.

Comments