The Origins of the Coffee Break Dates Back Over 100 Years
Talk about something random to discuss today but here we are. I was driving into work this morning and listening to a podcast that got on the topic of coffee and caffeine. Somewhere in this conversation, the topic of the coffee break was brought up. You know the best part of your day outside of lunch? Anyway, it turns out the origins of this time-honored tradition have an interesting place in history regarding the modern workday.
There are two places in time that we can point to that laid the groundwork for us coffee lovers for starters. The first is in 1902 in Buffalo New York. A company by the name of Barcolo Manufacturing, started offering two coffee breaks a day for their employees as a special benefit. The idea was that if you gave workers a chance to relax over a cup of joe for a few minutes they would in turn be more productive. Not to mention the caffeine boost was a great benefit.
The second instance took place in Denver Colorado in the 1940s. Wigwam Weavers made neckties and thanks to the outbreak of WWII the company lost their best young workers. To combat the issue Wigwam hired older men who were not drafted to do the job. It did not work as well as they had hoped. So, they ended up hiring older women who could actually do a good job making the ties. However, at a certain point in the day, the production rate slowed a bit. What to do here?
Well, the women suggested giving them two points in the day where they could take a break to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Once Wigwam allowed this to happen productivity went up. Apparently, pretty fast too. It only took a couple of 10-minute breaks and some caffeine to get the ball rolling.
It was just funny to hear that coffee and caffeine helped shape the modern workday. It is something I know I am pretty happy about. Good coffee and conversation can really save the workday.