Oh Henry.

Okay. So, we all work hard to earn our keep. Run our butts off until it’s time to go home and collapse. (or have a beer) Even though a lot of people are working at home these days, there are an awful lot of jobs that simply can’t be done at home like, say, heat treating professionals. 🙂  Some random others are: Proctologist (yikes!!), sidewalk artist, high-rise window washer (yikes!!), male model, barber, sewer cleaner (again…yikes!!), office tower construction (double yikes!!), coal miner, pilot, jockey and dog groomer to name a few. So, whatever you do—just keep running, baby!! And HAVE FUN!!!!! 

Work.  From about age 13, it’s something I come to just do naturally.  Imprinted from my Dad for so many years, when the sun comes up, he’d say it’s best you are at your desk, ready to take on the day. We all structure our lives “around” work – sleep time, commute time, vacations, shopping, exercise, lunch, friends, fun, church/synagogue – it’s just how we’re programmed.  I really enjoy coming to work in the wee hours of the morning – it’s always amazing how beautiful Lake Erie is as the sun rises! This is a great way to start the day, and of course, the added benefit of never being in traffic also helps! For all the talk of how freeing it’d be to shave a day or two off the five-day workweek, little attention has been paid to where the weekly calendar came from. Understanding the sometimes-arbitrary origins of the modern workweek might inform a movement to shorten it – or modify it as we become adjusted to our present-day “work from home” situation.  So many of us have adjusted to less commuting time, no lunch hours, and just working well into the night (honestly, who’s not working on the weekends these days??)  Today marks the anniversary of when the famous manufacturing and business entrepreneur Henry Ford, credited with creating the “work week” (of course there’s more to the history).  Special thanks to The Atlantic magazine, CNBC and Quora for the info and You Tube for the music.  Enjoy.  And be sure to set your alarm for Monday (hopefully you still get Sat. & Sun. off!)

A little workin’ music:  CLICK HERE

  • The roots of the seven-day week can be traced back about 4,000 years, to Babylon. The Babylonians believed there were seven planets in the solar system, and the number seven held such power to them that they planned their days around it.
  • The seven-day, planetary week spread to Egypt, Greece, and eventually to Rome, where it turns out the Jewish people had their own version of a seven-day week.  (The reason for this is unclear, but some have speculated that the Jews adopted this after their exile in Babylon in the sixth century B.C.) At the very latest, the seven-day week was firmly entrenched in the Western calendar about 250 years before Christ was born and as reflected in the Bible.
  • A week in Ancient Egypt comprised of 10 days. Examining records from Deir el-Medina, the village where (non-slave) artisans who worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings lived, workers officially toiled away for eight hours a day with an hour’s break for lunch at midday. Sounds pretty reasonable – and familiar – but they actually did this for eight days before resting for two days.
  • The typical farmworker in the Israel of 100 BC tended crops or engaged in other farm work for around eight hours a day. For a working day began at dawn and concluded at dusk that’s a heavy load, but three hours would have been set aside for prayer while eating the day’s main meal was likely to have taken an hour or so.
  • Slaves in imperial Rome were at the grindstone 24/7, but most free artisans only worked six hours a day, from 6 am to midday. Not only that but festivals were frequent. In fact, according to some historians, Romans who were not in chains ended up working only half the year.
  • In 1817, Welsh manufacturer and labor rights activist Robert Owen coins the phrase “Eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest,” dividing the day into three equal eight-hour parts.  The idea did not take hold in Europe, but it made its way to the U.S. over the next few decades. According to Lichtenstein, American workers adopted a similar slogan in the years following the Civil War.
  • The legislature passes the law, but it contains a loophole that allows “employers to contract with their employees for longer hours,” the historical society writes. In response, a large strike erupts in Chicago which spreads to other cities across the U.S. and Europe. That day became known as May Day.
  • The earliest recorded use of the word “weekend,” occurred in 1879 in an English magazine called Notes and Queries:  In Staffordshire, if a person leaves home at the end of his week’s work on a Saturday afternoon to spend the evening of Saturday and the following Sunday with friends at a distance, he is said to be spending his week-end at so-and-so.
  • Some 19th-century Britons used the week’s seventh day for merriment rather than for the rest prescribed by scripture. They would drink, gamble, and enjoy themselves so much that the phenomenon of “Saint Monday,” in which workers would skip work to recover from Sunday’s gallivanting, emerged. (We call it “Browns” Monday).  English factory owners later compromised with workers by giving them a half-day on Saturday in exchange for guaranteed attendance at work on Monday.
  • The ‘weekend’ rose with the Industrial Revolution where people worked in factories or mills all day, typically in the north of England. It started out as a voluntary arrangement between factory owners and workers, allowing them Saturday afternoon. Owners found workers were more refreshed on Monday morning.
  • In 1926, Ford Motor Company issued a five-day, 40-hour workweek for its workers in a newsworthy move by founder and business titan Henry Ford. (Ford is often cited as the inventor of the five day/8 hour day) In a statement, Ford writes, “It is high time to rid ourselves of the notion that leisure for workmen is either lost time or a class privilege.”
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 went into effect in 1940, mandating a maximum 40-hour workweek. The two-day weekend was the result across the nation after that.
  • For 24 hour/7 days a week processing and manufacturing companies, “shift work” became the standard.  Other professions where workers are required around the clock (think hospitals, police, fire, elder care, military, security) management needed to adjust schedules to cover hours – some doing 3-12hour shifts.  If you know any health care heroes these days, you’ll learn about “3 on and two off” schedules.
  • A 1965 Senate subcommittee predicted Americans would work 14-hour weeks by the year 2000, and before that, back in 1928, John Maynard Keynes wrote that technological advancement would bring the workweek down to 15 hours within 100 years.
  • Tony Schwartz, the author of Be Excellent at Anything, told Harvard Business Review that people work best in intense 90-minute bursts followed by periods of recovery. Compare that to our “always working” routines of today (and COVID restrictions), the right scheduling of bursts and rests could get a similar amount of work done over a shorter period of time, not tied to hours worked requirements. INTERESTING – JUST NOT REALITY FOR MOST OF US!
  • Given the ongoing conversation about how most of the old 8-5 ways are just sitting there, and now getting disrupted by COVID, technology, no commuting, online work software, teleconferencing, etc. it will be surprising if the traditional workweek remains wholly intact.
  • With the advent of technologies, (and Covid) who knows what the next 100 years will bring… KHT will be here for you…!



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!




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