For a half-century, Fred Bausch has been repairing, rebuilding, renovating, rehabilitating and selling old and antique clocks in San Carlos, California.
These are clocks you must reset to keep up with Daylight Saving Time – a supersized task here.
“It’s never been any sort of difficult chore because after 50 years, we’re used to it, you know,” Bausch said.
Whether adopted to make railroad schedules more reliable or save candles in the 1800s or to save electricity in World War I or to help farmers work hours, cut crime, reduce car crashes or many other reasons, California adopted Daylight Saving Time in 1949.
I asked the clocksmith and his nephew what they think of daylight saving.
“It has been a subject of controversy ever since it was started.”
“I feel it’s completely unnecessary these days, seeing that we’ve moved to a digital world where most of our electronics will adjust our own timekeeping for us. It’s really completely unnecessary.”
For the younger clocksmith, even the tradition of changing smoke alarm batteries when you fall back or spring forward is not enough.
“Once again, moving into this digital world, they’re coming out with smoke detectors that last 10 years at a time, where you don’t even have to think about changing it once a year.”
If enacted and signed into law, the state would have to seek approval from the federal government, which governs Daylight Saving Time. Then it would be put to a vote of the people, the same way it was when voters approved it in 1949.
“I think everybody likes the long days of the summer. So, I don’t have really strong feelings either way. I think Daylight Saving Time is good, but I would just like it to be more regular.”
“It’s an illusion to me that we don’t gain any electricity savings or anything like that. I mean, ultimately, it would be easier not to change time.”