During the Industrial Revolution, companies attempted to maximize the output of their factories by keeping them running as many hours as possible, typically implementing a sun up to sun down work day. The typical work day at this time lasted anywhere from 10-18 hours per day, six days a week. This all began to change in the 19th century.
British man by the name of Robert Owen felt that the work day should be divided into thirds, with workers getting equal time to themselves and to sleep as they do for work. Thus, in 1817, he began campaigning for an eight hour working day for all workers, coining the phrase, Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest. Unfortunately, this did not catch on for some time.
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