William Willett

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William Willett 1909

William Willett (born August 10, 1856 in Farnham ; † March 4, 1915 ) is considered the inventor of summer time .


Willett was born in the English town of Farnham and lived most of his life in Chislehurst . After gaining some business experience, he worked for his father's construction company.

The idea for summer time allegedly came to Willett during an early morning horse ride when he noticed that the shutters were still closed on all the houses. At his own expense, Willett published a font in 1907 called The Waste of Daylight . In it he suggested that the clocks should be set forward by 80 minutes in the summer to save £ 2.5 million in lighting costs through longer evening brightness. According to Willett's idea, the clock should be put forward 20 minutes each time on four consecutive Sundays in April and back in the same way in September.

Despite lobbying - so Willett was able to win the support of Winston Churchill , among others - the summer time was initially unable to establish itself in Great Britain . Willett died of influenza in 1915, before summer time was introduced in 1916, first in Germany and a little later in Great Britain.

Before Willett, Benjamin Franklin mentioned the idea of ​​adjusting the daily rhythm to the hours of daylight as early as 1784. Unlike Willett, however, Franklin only suggested that people get up earlier in the summer.

Willet is the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay front singer Chris Martin .

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