The idea of daylight saving time was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 during his stay in Paris. He published an essay titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” that proposed to economize the use of candles by rising earlier to make use of the morning sunlight.National Geographic adds:
While serving as U.S. ambassador to France in Paris, Franklin wrote of being awakened at 6 a.m. and realizing, to his surprise, that the sun rose far earlier than he usually did. Imagine the resources that might be saved if he and others rose before noon and burned less midnight oil, Franklin, tongue half in cheek, wrote to a newspaper.
"Franklin seriously realized it would be beneficial to make better use of daylight, but he didn't really know how to implement it," Prerau said. . .
It wasn't until World War I that daylight savings were realized on a grand scale. Germany was the first state to adopt the time changes, to reduce artificial lighting and thereby save coal for the war effort. Friends and foes soon followed suit. In the U.S. a federal law standardized the yearly start and end of daylight saving time in 1918—for the states that chose to observe it.
Both pieces have lots of information including pros and cons and research links that say DST is beneficial and harmful to energy use and to health.
As long as we have it (doesn't make too much sense in Alaska), I still propose that in the spring, we jump ahead at 4pm on Friday afternoon instead of on the weekend.