There are a lot of things that don't make sense with our standard 12-month, or Gregorian, calendar, but none of the peculiar characteristics of the calendar compare to the odd nature of the 13-month, International Fixed Calendar.
Upon first glance, the International Fixed Calendar makes sense, but the days, weeks, and (13) months don't add up the more you start to think about it. But that didn't stop George Eastman, founder of the Kodak Company, from implementing the "balanced" International Fixed Calendar for his massive photography company for more than 60 years.
Before we get too far, what is the International Fixed Calendar?
The International Fixed Calendar is an alternative calendar that does away with the traditional 12-month setup and instead offers 13 months with 28 days each and a 29th day added to the final month of the year.
According to a piece on the ill-fated history of the revolutionary calendar, "this particular 13-month invention came from the mind of Moses Cotsworth, a North Eastern Railway advisor bothered by inexplicably varying monthly earnings over the traditional 12-month period. Cotsworth's plan quickly gained popularity among businessmen, especially in transportation and logistics."
While the International Fixed Calendar was trumpeted by the those in the transportation business, it was Eastman who would become Cotsworth's biggest and most vocal supporter when he shifted his entire company's schedule to the new calendar in 1928. It would remain this way until 1989 when Kodak finally reverted back to the 12-month calendar.
But while the business world saw some merit in the 13-month calendar, most Americans weren't as open to the idea, and for good reason. Even though having 13 months with 28 days each made a lot of sense when speaking in terms of comparing financial performance month over month, the International Fixed Calendar messed up one of the nation's most significant holidays: Independence Day.
The Outlook explained in 1927: "If, for instance, we wish to keep Independence Day in July, then it will cease to be the fourth of July but become the second of July. If, however, we wish to keep it on virtually the same day of the year. Independence Day will fall into the new month. As July 4 will become Sol (the new 13th month which would be inserted between June and July) 17 and thus fall on Tuesday, Independence Day will then be shifted one day earlier and become Sol 16."
If that wasn't bad enough, the International Fixed Calendar lost even more support with Eastman's suicide in 1932. But despite the rest of the world not catching on to this revolutionary and streamlined system of marking days, weeks, months, and years, Kodak continued the practice until 1989 when it reverted back to the Gregorian calendar.
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