Uh oh, Joy has a big problem: too many fun things to do every weekend and not enough time to do them all. In this episode, she and cohost Asa are on a mission to make the weekend longer!

But where did the weekend come from? And why is it two days, instead of one or five? Turns out, it all started when factories began opening up in the 1800s. Tag along with Joy and Asa as they learn how workers pushed for more time off – and eventually helped create the two-day weekend! Plus, see if you can crack an all-new First Things First, featuring comic strips, waffles and orange juice concentrate!

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Audio Transcript

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Joy, you in here?


Oh, there you are. Listen, you will not believe what happened to me today. I--


ASA: Why are you resting your face against the microphone like it's a pillow? And why is there drool on your cheek? And why are you wearing a blue satin eye mask with the words "quiet, please" embroidered on it? Hang on. Are you asleep in the studio?


ASA: Uh oh. I guess you forgot we were supposed to tape an episode today. Joy, time to wake up. Open those peepers. It's a beautiful day.


ASA: Wow, you're a deep sleeper. Let's try this.


Joy! Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey.

JOY DOLO: [INHALES] Oh, I'm scared of the ponies. [SNORES] Bedazzled goldfish. Oh, peanut butter baloney sandwich. [HEAVY SNORING]

ASA: Hmm, this is serious. OK, come on in, everybody.



And a one, and a two, and a three.


JOY DOLO: Oh! Hey, Asa. Is it time for marching band practice already?

ASA: Are you OK? You seem really tired.

JOY DOLO: [YAWNS] I was just resting my eyes. I must have fallen asleep. I had a super busy weekend.

ASA: Joy, it's Wednesday.

JOY DOLO: I know. That's how busy it was. It was literally the most exciting, jam-packed, fun-filled glitter canon rainbow unicorn weekend ever. I had a sleepover with 10 of my best friends and all their pets, made a triple-layer coconut crumb cheesecake with extra crumb, went whitewater rafting, judged a taco-eating contest-- [YAWNS] and finished writing my memoir, A Joy To Behold: The Joy Dolo Story.

ASA: Whoa, no wonder you're exhausted.


Wait, what's that furry lump on your shoulder?

JOY DOLO: This is Kevin Bacon.

ASA: The actor?

JOY DOLO: No, Kevin Bacon, my pet guinea pig.


I was supposed to take him last weekend to see that new coming-of-age teen drama, Are You There God: It's Me Marsupial. It's about a koala navigating the pressures of middle school. Kevin loves teen dramas. But when I told him we didn't have time to see it, he was so disappointed. Have you ever seen a disappointed guinea pig, Asa? It's not pretty. It's not pretty!

ASA: Joy, maybe it's just me, but it sounds like you're trying to cram a little too much into the weekend. I mean, taco contest? Guinea pig movie dates? The weekend is only two days.

JOY DOLO: Wait, say that again.

ASA: You're trying to cram too much in.

JOY DOLO: No, no, no, the other part.

ASA: Guinea pig movie dates?

JOY DOLO: No, no, the other, other part.

ASA: The weekend is only two days?

JOY DOLO: That's it! We have to figure out a way to make the weekend longer. Who says a weekend should only be two days, anyway? Why not three, or four, or six?

ASA: I would love a six-day weekend.

JOY DOLO: Yes! Think of all the sleepovers, and whitewater rafting, and coconut crumb cheesecake we'd have time for. To the Forever Ago laboratory. But first, mind if we get lunch? I'm having the strangest craving for peanut butter baloney sandwiches.


Welcome to Forever Ago, from APM Studios. I'm Joy Dolo.

ASA: I'm Asa. This is Kevin Bacon, the Guinea pig.


JOY DOLO: Today, we're talking all about the weekend. And we're at the Forever Ago History Laboratory to figure out a way to make it longer.

ASA: Um, Joy, this is a garden shed. Achoo! Man, it is so dusty in here.


Look. Even Kevin Bacon's tiny nose is running from all the dust bunnies.

JOY DOLO: It looks like a garden shed, but check this out.


ASA: Whoa! Where did-- where did keyboard come from?

JOY DOLO: Now, you just whisper the secret password into this hidden microphone. [CLEARS THROAT] Harry Styles solid gold toilet.



And, voila, welcome to the Forever Ago History Lab.

ASA: Wow. There's a whole other room back there. This is really rad. Look at all this fancy equipment. Wait. What's that tiny little mansion over there?

JOY DOLO: Oh, that's Kevin Bacon's guinea pig villa. I'll just tuck him in there.


Who's a good piggy? Your Mama's best little piggy. Yes, you are.


ASA: Ooh, and check out these big cushy armchairs. It's like sitting on a marshmallow, on a cloud, on a pile of mashed potatoes.

JOY DOLO: Oh, yeah, these are my thinking chairs. I like to be extra comfy when I'm pondering big historical questions, like today's. Where did the weekend come from? Asa, got some questions for you. What do you like to do on the weekend?

ASA: Um, well, to start off, you know, I just scroll on my phone, you know, the usual.

JOY DOLO: You just scroll on your phone.

ASA: Yeah, and, like, I wake up at like 5:00 AM because I forget to turn off my alarm.

JOY DOLO: Oh, yeah. So you wake up, and then is there, like, an activity you like to do?

ASA: Um, I like to play Roblox, like, my entire day. Like--

JOY DOLO: OK, wait. Calm down. I was born in 1987.


JOY DOLO: So Roblox is a video game, right?

ASA: Yeah.

JOY DOLO: And I've heard a lot of people like this. What kind-- what is it? [LAUGHS] Tell me about it.

ASA: Basically, just imagine-- OK, let me try and put this in your world. OK, imagine Super Mario Brothers--


ASA: --but, like, interactive.


ASA: Kind of like that.

JOY DOLO: OK, Roblox, that sounds like a-- I know Super Mario really well.

ASA: I have a NES.

JOY DOLO: Oh, do you?

ASA: Yeah.

JOY DOLO: Oh, that's neat.

ASA: I just have a lot of old stuff in my house.

JOY DOLO: Yeah, well, I guess the only old thing in my house is me. [LAUGHS] Moving on, Asa. [LAUGHS] OK, so you play video games, you scroll on your phone. If you had a perfect weekend, what would you do? Anything could happen, anything. Anything in the world.

ASA: OK, so basically, I get a knock on my front door at 5:00 AM, right?

JOY DOLO: Mhm, Yep.

ASA: Michael Jordan is at my door, right?

JOY DOLO: [LIGHT GASP] Oh, my gosh.

ASA: And then he flies me to Los Angeles, right?

JOY DOLO: Mhm, yep.

ASA: And then he adopts me.

JOY DOLO: Mhm. Ooh, make sure your mom's cool with that. [LAUGHS]

ASA: And then, let's just say I'm the new Jordan, you know?

JOY DOLO: Asa Jordan, got it. Yep.

ASA: I get free shoes.


ASA: I live in Los Angeles now.

JOY DOLO: All right, so you're with Michael Jordan, he's buying you shoes. What are you all doing? Playing Roblox? [LAUGHS]



All right, time to get down to business and figure out how to make the weekend longer. I tried this years ago, but I didn't get anywhere. Let me just--


TEDDY: Joy, it's been ages.

JOY DOLO: Oh, hi, Teddy. Asa, this is Teddy, our official Forever Ago librarian and lab assistant. Teddy, you're wearing two different pairs of shoes again.

ASA: And your shirt's on backwards.

TEDDY: Oh, ho, ho! That's why it's been so hard to button it up today. Well, you know how it goes when you're pondering big historical questions.

JOY DOLO: What was all that noise?

TEDDY: Noise? Oh. Oh, that! I was just reorganizing some encyclopedias by smell and texture, as one does. And I was struck by the sudden urge to have a history dance party with myself. When I'm history dancing, I like to do a lot of high kicks-- [KICKING IN AIR] and butt-shaking.


And I may have knocked over a few items.

JOY DOLO: We're really glad you're here because we need some help. Do you remember a couple of years ago when I started working on a top secret project to-- (WHISPERING) make the weekend longer?

TEDDY: (WHISPERING) Operation Everlasting Weekend? How could I forget?

JOY DOLO: Well, Asa and I were just talking about how the weekend isn't long enough to fit all the fun stuff we want to do. And it got me thinking, maybe it's time to pull out the old weekend-stretching gadgets we dreamed up so we can finally make it happen.

ASA: I'm sorry. Did you say weekend-stretching gadgets?

JOY DOLO: Oh, yeah. Teddy and I experimented with lots of different stuff back then. We tried growing some new days in our Forever Ago garden, Whens-brewery, Thirst-ober. Terrible idea. It was a single day that lasted a whole month. I had to take so many naps.

TEDDY: We even tried using this antique taffy machine to stretch out the weekend, but that didn't work either. Side note, that's why the red velvet couch over there was 20 feet long.

JOY DOLO: So the gadgets didn't, like, work, work, and by that, I mean they didn't work at all. But we did do piles and piles of research on the weekend. You still have it, Teddy?

TEDDY: Do I have research? Do I have research? Do I have research?

ASA: Um, is he OK?

TEDDY: These closets are practically stuffed with research on the weekend. See all these manila folders, and the big stacks of newspapers, and the dusty books that smell like an old basement, but in the best way? [SIGHS]

JOY DOLO: Teddy gets really emotional about history research.

TEDDY: Oh, you should see me every time I watch a Ken Burns documentary. I'm a wreck for a week. [INHALES] OK, before today, before we can figure out how to make the weekend longer, we need some background.

JOY DOLO: Yeah, where did the weekend come from? Why is it Saturday and Sunday instead of Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday?

ASA: And why do we get two days off instead of one, or three, or none?

JOY DOLO: Whoa, no weekend ever? That's dark. That's like a hamster wheel where the hamsters never stop running.

ASA: Or a pop quiz that lasts forever.


TEDDY: Yeah, it's hard to imagine a time when the two-day weekend didn't even exist. But in the United States, it's only been part of our routines for less than 100 years.

JOY DOLO: That means your great, great, great grandparents probably didn't even have a weekend, at least not like we think of it now. Saturday and Sunday did exist, but back then, people didn't think of them as the weekend. A lot of people still had to work.

TEDDY: Right. The history of the weekend is closely connected to how and where we work. To get the full picture, we have to go back to the 1700s in Europe.


ASA: OK, so more than 300 years ago, way before cars, or TVs, or even electricity. Think big curly wigs, fancy dresses, and horse-drawn carriages.

TEDDY: Yeah, but around this time, most people lived on farms and in small, rural communities. A lot of them grew their own food and made what they needed by hand, like their clothes, soap, and candles.

JOY DOLO: And people mostly worked Monday through Saturday and only took Sunday off. This was tied to religion. In the Christian faith, Sundays are thought of as a holy day of rest.

TEDDY: And because electric lights hadn't been invented yet, most of their work was done during the day, when the sun was up.


WOMAN: Oh, goodness. Look at this to-do list. It's a mile long. Feed the pigs. Clean out the chicken coop. Make candles. Do the wash. And what's this? I can't read my own handwriting. Blue spew?

MAN: No, no, no, no, it says fluff spleen.

WOMAN: Hmm, I'm pretty sure that's not it. Maybe it's floor sweep?

MAN: Nope. Pretty sure it says fluff spleen.

WOMAN: Well, great. Now we have to have floof our spleens today too, all before the sun sets. Mm, as if we didn't have enough to do already.

ASA: Sounds like it was a lot of work to keep the farms running.

TEDDY: Yes, but it was different from how we work today, because farm work was so connected to the seasons.

JOY DOLO: In the spring, people worked from sunrise to sunset, plowing the land and getting it ready for planting. And in the fall, farmers were busy harvesting crops.

TEDDY: But there were also long periods of the year where there wasn't as much to do, like in the winter. Even people who didn't live on farms, like merchants and craftsmen, had a pretty relaxed attitude towards schedules. Some days, they might open the shops at 8:00 AM, and the next day, at 9:00 or 10:00 AM.

JOY DOLO: And that was true for school, too. Back then, kids weren't required to go to school, and a lot of them stayed home to work on the farm instead. Kids who did go to school didn't necessarily go every day. They just showed up when they could.

TEDDY: So work and school schedules depended a lot on nature's rhythms, like when the sun rose and set, and when the crops were ready to be harvested.

JOY DOLO: And there was plenty of time to rest, even during busier times of the year. People took long breaks for meals and naps. The pace of work was slow. And historians think most people didn't work more than eight hours a day at most.

TEDDY: But that all changed with the start of the Industrial Revolution.


WOMAN: Industrial Revolution!

ASA: Oh, yeah, the Industrial Revolution was the super important period in history when more stuff started being made in factories instead of by hand.

TEDDY: It started in the late 1700s in Britain.


Suddenly, these factories were popping up everywhere.


And they made a bunch of different things, from cloth and steel to buckles and buttons.

JOY DOLO: The coal-powered steam engine had just been invented, which meant people could manufacture a lot of the same thing much quicker than making it by hand. Instead of weaving one small piece of cloth on your loom at home, you can make piles and piles of cloth.

TEDDY: So you could make lots and lots of clothes for your pet guinea pigs, a different outfit for every day of the week.

ASA: OK, those all seem like good things.

TEDDY: Uh huh. Technology was blossoming around this time. But these factories weren't great places to work. They were usually crowded, hot, and pretty dangerous.

JOY DOLO: And because there weren't labor laws yet to prevent kids from working, some of these factory workers were as young as five or six years old.

TEDDY: And there were also lots of rules, not about safety, but about what workers could and couldn't do. And if you broke any of them, you'd lose some of your pay.


Here, look at this. These are real things that workers inside one cotton factory were punished for.


Idleness and looking through the window. Dancing. Using ill language. And writing on each other's backs.

ASA: Seriously? Your boss might cut your pay because of dancing or piggyback rides?

TEDDY: You better believe it. And here's the kicker, the Industrial Revolution completely changed how people thought about work and time. Instead of flowing with the rhythm of the seasons and working mostly during the day, people started working much, much longer hours in the factories, sometimes up to 16 hours a day.

ASA: 16 hours? That's like twice as long as my school day.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. And suddenly, schedules became a big deal. Like, you arrived for your job at exactly 6:00 AM and left the factory at 8:00 PM, for example. Time was something to be measured, right down to the second.


MAN: Hey yoose, you're late again. I told you yesterday, get your heiney in your chair by 6:00 AM, or I'll find another person who can get their heiney here on time. I've got at least 30 heineys here who could take your job lickety split, kid.

EMPLOYEE: My heiney was on time, but then I had to stop to pet this really cute cat outside for 30 seconds. Oh, and then I dropped my lunch on the ground, and the cat started eating it, and--

MAN: That's it. Get your heiney out of here. You're fired.


TEDDY: It was around this point that people started thinking about time as a commodity, like it was something that could be bought, or sold, or even wasted.

JOY DOLO: Even Ben Franklin jumped on the bandwagon. In the mid-1700s, he wrote in one of his books "time is money." Historians think he probably wasn't the first one to come up with that saying, but it really stuck.

TEDDY: So people were working much longer days in hot, crowded factories. And the weekend didn't really exist yet. If you were lucky, you got Sundays off, and that was it. But it wouldn't be long before some of these workers started to push back.

JOY DOLO: Yeah, they wanted a real weekend. Oh, that reminds me, time to fire up the Sundae Replicator. Just have to crank this handle.


Push this button.


And we're good to go.

ASA: The Sunday Replicator? Like, making more Sundays so we can make the weekend longer?

JOY DOLO: No, no, no, the Sundae Replicator, like ice cream sundaes. Teddy and I were trying to make a machine to copy Sunday, the day of the week, but all it does is make ridiculously good ice cream sundaes, which isn't actually a problem.

TEDDY: I mean, you can't talk history without an extra creamy frozen dessert. Am I right?


MACHINE: Joy Dolo, here are your cookies and cream sundaes with-- [MACHINE OPERATING] extra whipped cream and-- [MACHINE OPERATING] gummy bears. Enjoy.


ASA: Wait, can I get some fudge on mine?


MACHINE: No. No fudge. Fudge is an abomination.

TEDDY: Yeah, there's some glitch that makes the sundae machine hate fudge.

JOY DOLO: While we eat our ice cream, how about we play a quick game of--


GROUP: First things first!


JOY DOLO: That's the game where we try to guess the order things came in history. Today, we're looking at fun weekendy stuff. Waffles, comic strips, and frozen orange juice concentrate. Which do you think came first? Which came second? And which came most recently? Asa, which one is oldest in your mind?

ASA: OK, so I think that maybe the orange juice concentrate is probably the oldest.

JOY DOLO: Oh, OK. Why is that?

ASA: It just sounds a little old.

JOY DOLO: [LAUGHS] Do you ever-- have you ever used that before or drank it before?

ASA: No, I never used it. I don't think so.

JOY DOLO: You know that stuff-- you know what I'm talking about, like the can, it's in that, like, can that's got the metal in the top and it's, like, got paper around it? It's in, like, the frozen food section.

ASA: Oh.

JOY DOLO: We used to drink it a lot when I was younger, so I was like that just really touched my heart there.


JOY DOLO: But, yeah, no, I could see that being first in history. So if we had frozen juice concentrate first, second up?

ASA: So I think it was comic strips.

JOY DOLO: OK, all right. So we have frozen juice concentrate, and then comic strips, and then waffles as the most recent industry?

ASA: Yeah, I think so. But I think all of this is like super, super old. So, yeah.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. [LAUGHS] All right, so why comic strips second and why waffles third?

ASA: Well, let's just say back in the day, a lot of people didn't have the materials to-- like, they had to eat their food, like, super fast because they didn't have anything to, like, preserve the food.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. OK, so frozen juice is the oldest.

ASA: Yeah.

JOY DOLO: Comic strips is next up.

ASA: Mhm.

JOY DOLO: And then waffles is final.

ASA: Yeah.

JOY DOLO: Is that your final answer?

ASA: Yes.



JOY DOLO: We'll hear the answers at the end of the episode, right after the credits.

ASA: We'll be right back.


JOY DOLO: You're listening to Forever Ago. I'm Joy.

ASA: I'm Asa. And this is Teddy, our official Forever Ago librarian and lab assistant. Teddy, your glasses are on upside down.

TEDDY: Whoops! [NERVOUS LAUGH] That's why everything's upside down today. [LAUGHS]

JOY DOLO: I'm pretty sure that's not-- mm, never mind. Today, we're talking all about the history of the weekend so we can figure out a way to make it longer. For a long, long time, people's work schedules depended a lot on the seasons and when the sun rose and set, but then came the Industrial Revolution.


WOMAN: Industrial Revolution!

ASA: Suddenly, a lot of people were working long hours inside of factories. And they started thinking about time really differently, as a thing that could be bought and sold.

TEDDY: So around this time, most people were working at least six days a week, with only Sunday off. But then in the early 1800s, some people in Britain started to push back.

JOY DOLO: That's right. Because Sunday was their only day off, lots of people crammed as much fun as possible into that day.


WOMAN: I say, are you going to the hamster races this evening, Haverford? Should be a lively one, I hear. My money's on Sir Squeaks-A-Lot. No question.

WOMAN: Why, I wouldn't miss the HamTucky Derby for the world, my chap. But I'm also supposed to judge a toffee-eating contest, and go canoeing in little codswallop lake later.

WOMAN: Egads! How ever will we fit all of these splendiferous enjoyable activities into a single day? The hamster races come not but once a year.

TEDDY: So some people came up with an ingenious way to make their weekends longer. They stopped showing up for work on Mondays.


ASA: So they just didn't go?

JOY DOLO: They just didn't go. They called them St. Mondays, and they got really popular.

TEDDY: More and more workers started taking Mondays off, so many, in fact, that factory owners worried that not enough people were showing up for work.

JOY DOLO: In 1842, a group who called themselves the Early Closing Association started pushing the British government to give workers a half day off on Saturday plus Sundays off.

ASA: Seems reasonable. So who was in this group?

TEDDY: Oh, they came from everywhere; workers, artisans, religious clergy, even business owners in the leisure industry, a.k.a. the people who made money selling fun activities.

JOY DOLO: Yeah, these business owners figured if people had more time off, they'd have more time to spend money on fun stuff, like taking the train to the countryside, going to concerts, or seeing plays. And if they had more time to spend money, that's good for business.


TEDDY: Some people even wrote into their local newspapers, trying to make the case for giving workers a half day off on Saturdays. Here's an actual letter from 1856.

WOMAN: Dear sir, I unflinchingly assert that there are none in operation at the present time more calculated to produce and augment the general, moral, and spiritual interests of society than the early closing movement.

ASA: Moral and spiritual what now?

TEDDY: Basically, people like the letter writer argued that if you gave workers more time off, they'd be better people.

JOY DOLO: The Early Closing Association kept pushing and pushing. And eventually, it worked. By the 1870s, it became standard for workers in Britain to take a half day off on Saturday. It was around this time in 1879 that the word "weekend" first started being used.

TEDDY: So British workers started to have something closer to a real weekend about 100 years after the Industrial Revolution first started in Europe. And it was right around this time that the second wave of this technological revolution got going, this time in the US.


WOMAN: Industrial Revolution!

ASA: Oh, yeah, that's when big mills and factories started popping up in the US, right?

TEDDY: Right. And basically, the same things that happened in Britain happened all over again in the US; the crowded factories, the really long hours.

ASA: So the weekends still didn't exist in the US, then?

JOY DOLO: Correct-a-mundo. And just like in Britain, workers started asking for more time off. Wait, Teddy, don't we have a movie about this somewhere?

TEDDY: Yes, I think it's under this pile of old junk. Hang on. Just a second.

ASA AND JOY: No, don't!


TEDDY: Phew! This is a lot of stuff. Wait, are there five George Foreman grills in here, Joy?

JOY DOLO: I just thought maybe someday, I--

TEDDY: You should have at least six of them. I mean, who knows when you're going to need to quickly and efficiently grill six things at the same time from the comfort of your own home?

JOY DOLO: Right? OK, let's see. Let me just pop in that movie.


WOMAN: (SINGING) Let it go. Let it go. I can't hold it back any more. Let it go.

JOY DOLO: Uh, whoops, wrong one. [NERVOUS LAUGH] Here it is.


TRAVIS BURNS: Hello. I'm Travis Burns, very distant cousin, twice removed of documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

TEDDY: Eeh! Ken Burns!

TRAVIS BURNS: But enough about that guy. You might recognize me, Travis Burns, from my award-winning documentaries including What's That Smell: The Untold Story Of Feta Cheese, plus Cream Cheese, Is It Really Cheese, and, of course, Chuck E. Cheese: Fact or Fiction.

ASA: Is it just me, or does that guy really like cheese?


TRAVIS BURNS: Today, how the weekend came to the US. In the 1870s, US workers started organizing into labor unions. A union is a group of workers that come together to negotiate with their bosses for things they want, like higher pay, better working conditions. And back then, unions wanted a shorter eight-hour workday, which was a super duper revolutionary idea back then, even more revolutionary than pre-sliced cheese.

JOY DOLO: Oh, yeah, he really does love cheese.

TRAVIS BURNS: But the idea of limiting worker hours didn't really take off until the early 1900s, starting with someone named Henry Ford.

ASA: Henry Ford? Oh, that's the car guy.

TRAVIS BURNS: Henry Ford, who you may know as the car guy, he was an incredibly successful automobile inventor who created what's known as the assembly line, where each worker would do one task in the factory over and over and over. In 1914, Ford made headlines when he announced his company would pay $5 a day for eight hours of work.

JOY DOLO: That would be like $150 today, double what most factories were paying back then.

TRAVIS BURNS: And then, about 10 years later, he made another huge announcement; the Ford Motor Company would move to a five-day workweek. Translation, his workers would get an actual weekend for the first time, more time for all the things they loved; freshly-grated Parmesan cheese on pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches, a nibble of Swiss first thing in the morning.

ASA: So Henry Ford gave all his workers two days off every week?

TRAVIS BURNS: You might be wondering why Ford would have done this. Well, it wasn't out of the goodness of his heart. Ford figured that by giving workers more time off, they'd have more time to buy stuff, like the cars he was making.


Here's what he wrote at the time.

ACTOR AS HENRY FORD: Just as the eight-hour day opened our way to prosperity in America, so the five-day workweek will open our way to still greater prosperity. People, who have more leisure, must have more clothes. They eat a greater variety of food. They require more transportation in vehicles.

TRAVIS BURNS: In other words, more time off, more time to spend money. Up next, the shocking history behind Gorgonzola cheese. You might be surprised--


ASA: Huh, so Henry Ford wanted people to spend more money, so he gave his workers a five-day workweek?

TEDDY: Yeah. And because he was such a major employer at the time, lots of other business owners and manufacturers followed his lead.

JOY DOLO: But we can't give Ford too much credit. Unions and labor activists were a huge part of this story too. For decades, they kept up the pressure, pushing employers for more time off and shorter workdays. They used all kinds of tactics, from boycotts to going on strike, that's when people all stop working at the same time in protest.

TEDDY: And all that effort eventually paid off. By 1938, US lawmakers had passed a massively important labor law. This law did a ton of different things like banning child labor and setting a minimum wage. But it also officially created the five-day workweek.

JOY DOLO: And ta-da, the weekend was born.


ASA: That's actually pretty cool, but the whole reason why we started talking about this was to figure out how to make the weekend longer. I mean, we need more time for slip-and-slides, and bike riding, and history dance parties.

JOY DOLO: And karaoke sing-offs, and sleepovers, and all the other fun stuff we can't fit into the weekend.

TEDDY: You know, it is funny that you bring that up because much of the world is going through something kind of similar to the Industrial Revolution right now, at least in terms of how we think about work. Lots of people started working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, and a good chunk of them are still working at home. On top of that, more jobs are being automated or done by robots. And some people say it's time to rethink how we rest and relax, too.

ASA: Rethink it how?

TEDDY: Well, some companies, and schools, and even entire countries are experimenting with three-day weekends.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. The idea is to give workers more freedom to manage their time. That way, they can do their jobs and still have time for all the other fun things in their lives. Some research has shown people who have three-day weekends say they're less stressed about work and have better mental and physical health.

TEDDY: But we still have a ways to go before more companies and schools start moving forward with the three-day weekend.

ASA: Joy, Teddy, hear me out. What if we get this weekend-stretching taffy machine up and running again so we don't have to wait? We can have longer weekends of right now.



JOY DOLO: But be careful. The last time we tried using it, we stretched out some of the junk in the lab by accident, and that's why all the pencils over there are 10 feet long. Whatever you do, don't press the big red button. That's the super stretch button.

TEDDY: You mean the one Kevin Bacon, the Guinea pig, currently has his paw on?


ALL: Kevin Bacon? No!



JOY DOLO: This episode was written by Shahla Farzan, with production help from Molly Bloom Anna Goldfield, Rosie DuPont, Nico Gonzalez Wisler, Ruby Guthrie, and Anna Weggel. Our editors are Shahla Farzan and Sanden Totten. Sound design by Rachel Brees. Theme music by Marc Sanchez. Beth Pearlman is our executive producer.

We had engineering help from Josh Sauvageau and Anna Havermann. The executives in charge of APM Studios are Chandra Kavati, Joanne Griffith, and Alex Schaffert. Special thanks to Brent Miller, Andy Doucette, Joanne Griffith, and Euan Kerr.

ASA: If you want access to ad-free episodes and special bonus content, subscribe to our Smarty Pass.

JOY DOLO: Check it out at foreverago.org/contact.

OK, Asa, ready to hear the answers for First Things First?

ASA: Yes.


ASA: I was born ready.

JOY DOLO: All right. Just as a reminder, our three things were waffles, frozen orange juice concentrate, and comic strips. And you said the first was frozen juice concentrate, then comic strips, and then waffles. Now, ba, da, bum, ba, da, bum, ba, da, bum, bum.

ASA: I have to get one thing right, please.

JOY DOLO: You know, you did OK. (LAUGHING) You did OK, Asa.

ASA: Uh oh.


ASA: I'm scared.

JOY DOLO: OK, so, well, first up, waffles is actually the oldest thing.

ASA: Huh?

JOY DOLO: Waffles is more than 2,000 years old.

ASA: How did the old people make that?

JOY DOLO: [LAUGHS] The first people to make waffles were the ancient Greeks. They called them obelios. Oh, yum. Put some obelios in syrup.

ASA: Oh, my god.

JOY DOLO: These early waffles were pretty basic, just flat cakes cooked between two metal plates over a fire.

ASA: Oh.

JOY DOLO: But by the Middle Ages, people were making much fancier waffles, using waffle irons and grades with all kinds of things, like symbols of love, coats of arms, animals, and, of course, the signature grid pattern we know today. And then in the mid-1700s, North American colonists started having parties called waffle frolics, which were literally parties where people ate waffles. Can we bring back the waffle frolics, please, please? I would go to that.


JOY DOLO: It actually wasn't until 1869 that a New York inventor patented the first waffle iron, which looked pretty similar to the ones we use today, except it sat on the burner of a stove or over a fire. Asa, I would like to invite you to a waffle frolic. [LAUGHS]

ASA: Oh, my gosh.

JOY DOLO: We have to have an official waffle frolic sometime.

ASA: I would want to go so bad.

JOY DOLO: So waffles was first. But guess what? You've got the next one right.

ASA: Yeah!

JOY DOLO: Comic strips was second, and that was invented in the 1400s.

ASA: Ooh.

JOY DOLO: So comic strips have been around since medieval times.

ASA: Oh.

JOY DOLO: In the 1400s, people in Germany started carving images into blocks of wood and using them to print comics. And these early comics were a series of small images that told a story, like comic strips you'd see today, but they weren't meant to be funny. They usually focused on politics.

And it wasn't until the late 1800s that comic strips really started becoming popular in the US, with the publication of early comics like Hogan's Alley and The Katzenjammer Kids. Oh, classic, Katzenjammer Kids and Garfield. [LAUGHS] So last but certainly not least is frozen orange juice concentrate.

ASA: And I got those switched up.

JOY DOLO: Yeah, yeah, you were close, though. You're close. And that was invented in 1945.

ASA: What?

JOY DOLO: Yeah, 1945.

ASA: Oh, my god.

JOY DOLO: Like, almost the '50s. Long time ago. Frozen orange juice concentrate was invented by US government scientists in 1945. Until then, Florida orange growers had been dealing with a big, big problem, too many oranges.

ASA: Ooh.

JOY DOLO: They had so many oranges that a lot of them went to waste. There just weren't enough people to buy them. Growers had tried freezing orange juice as early as the 1930s, but the result was a sludgy, discolored glop. Ew.

ASA: Ooh.

JOY DOLO: I don't want to drink that.

ASA: Nm mm.

JOY DOLO: But then in the early 1940s, the US Army wanted to make sure troops fighting in World War II were getting enough vitamin C, so they offered a huge amount of money to anyone who could figure out how to freeze orange juice and still make it taste good. [LAUGHS] What a challenge.

By 1945, scientists at the US Department of Agriculture cracked the code and figured out how to evaporate the liquid in fresh juice so that the frozen stuff tasted good. It was later named Minute Maid because you could make--

ASA: [GASPS] Minute Maid.

JOY DOLO: --orange juice with it in less than a minute. That's the stuff that we drink.

ASA: Oh, my gosh.

JOY DOLO: Yeah, yeah, Minute Maid.

ASA: So that's what it was.


ASA: I wasn't thinking it was an old thing from like the 14, like before BC. Oh, my gosh.

JOY DOLO: That was cool. Waffle frolic, I am down to party, or I guess what they were called obelios, an obelios frolic. I'd go into that, bring some syrup and some friends. Kevin Bacon. [SOFT LAUGH]

We'll be back next week with an episode all about the history of electric cars.

ASA: Thanks for listening.


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