Dear Mr Postman .. are you sure this is going to be about Daylight Saving?! Being woken up by cannons seems a little unnecessary! You do titillate us with your descriptions ...
Benjamin Franklin when he was American envoy to France published in 1784 anonymously what he thought was a positive letter! - suggesting that the French could make a few adjustments to their life .. like tax shutters, ration candle supply, and wake the public up by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise!
Franklin, remember, was the author of the proverb "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise". In those days late 18th Century Europe did not keep accurate schedules and standardised times were unknown and not considered. The invention of the steam engine and railways in the next fifty years brought about the need for a more accurate railway timetable.
William Willett, an English builder and great sportsman, in 1905 realised that Londoners were sleeping through part of the summer day, and as he disliked cutting his golf round short at dusk, proposed that clocks were advanced during the summer months.
Willett continued, until his death in 1915, to lobby for Daylight Saving Time (DST) to be accepted .. however in 1916, Germany, to save coal in winter, was the first to adopt his proposal, followed soon after by England, other countries, Russia and ultimately the United states in 1918.
The practice is still controversial and continues to vex governments. Adding daylight to afternoons benefits retailing, sports and other activities, but causes problems for farming, entertainment and other occuaptions tied to the sun. Additionally the clock adjustments may be automatic - but can cause problems with travel schedules, meetings etc ..
Most of the northern hemisphere (ie those in high latitudes) still uses DST, but other areas have either stopped using the practice, or in fact never used it -see link. The United States have had DST or repealed it with a degree of regularity ...
That was the simple bit!! I'd wondered why Summertime wasn't correlated across the world .. it appears that in 2005 legislation was passed in the United States (to be effective in 2007) under the auspices of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 whereby the dates changed .. meaning this year the UK and the States were out of synch for three weeks.
Worse though are the difficulties this causes computer programmers to deal with these changing times, apart from the rest of the world trading or working with areas of the States. Also it's not applicable throughout the States. There are other adjustments in the rest of the world .. no wonder humans were born with brains! - we need them to keep up with these human devised time keeping quirks .. I'm just pleased I have a few clocks to adjust!!
Well Mr Postman - that letter opened a can of worms I wasn't expecting to read about .. but it's interesting as there are always so many other aspects that need to be taken into account ..