Home   Site information   History

timeanddate.com – How It All Started

On May 24, 1998, timeanddate.com came online for the first time, attracting only 24 visitors. Today, 20 years later, millions use the website every day.

The Early Years

The story of timeanddate.com starts with Steffen Thorsen. As a boy, Steffen was always interested in clocks, time, and calendars. Combined with an interest in programming, he soon started developing online calendars and clocks.

1995 – Student Home Page

Steffen was studying computer science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim when he released some of timeanddate.com’s early services, including the Calendar and World Clock, in November 1995.

The services were hosted as part of Steffen's home page in a Unix account on the student web server.

Illustration image

Steffen's home page 1995

©timeanddate.com

1995 – Key Services Introduced

November 7, 1995

The original World Clock was introduced in Norwegian as Verdensuret, but the English version came only a few days later. At first, it did not support Daylight Saving Time (DST), as it does today.

November 18, 1995

A countdown to the year 2000 was added. Today, we offer Live Countdowns that can be personalized for any occasion.

November 19, 1995

The Calendar was implemented. It contained no holidays or options, except for changing the years.

The Calendar and the World Clock were soon among the top 10 most visited pages on the student web server (with about 8000 students).

1997 – Too Cool for Skool

As the student mass of visitors grew and Steffen's time at university came to an end, he needed a new domain.

Steffen paid about $600 for the domain name and hosting for a two-year period—quite a steep price for a university student financially surviving on a student loan and a part-time job.

Development on timeanddate.com started soon after. All the services were recoded from scratch and only emergency maintenance was still done on the student site.

Steffen Thorsen in front of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.

Steffen Thorsen as a student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.

©timeanddate.com

1998 — The Big Move

timeanddate.com came online on May 24, 1998, attracting only 24 visitors on the first day.

Several new services were introduced, including:

By the end of 1998, timeanddate.com had about 7000–8000 page views a day, reaching a first major peak of nearly 40,000 on New Year’s Eve.

Illustration image

1999 – Time Zone Library

The Time Zone Abbreviations service was launched in January. It started as one large list, but it later evolved into separate pages for each time zone in the world.

2000 – The Millennium, Or Not?

When the clocks ticked down to the year 2000, we had about 10 times our regular traffic on a single day—even though the millennium didn't even start in 2000.

2001 – Sunrise and Sunset

Many thousands of people visit our Sun Calculator each day to check the precise moment the Sun rises and sets, the changing daylength, and the Sun's exact position in the sky. A rudimentary version of this service was first introduced in 2001, showing only sunrise and sunset times.

Sunset beach

©iStockphoto.com/valio84sl

2004 – Time Zone Converter

When it's noon in New York, what time is it in Sydney? Well, it depends on the date because clocks in both countries change for Daylight Saving Time (DST) twice a year, each on different dates.

Our Time Zone Converter takes all this into account, based on our always up-to-date DST database, so you get your answer within seconds without having to worry about the infuriatingly complex world of time zones and clock changes. A first version of the converter was launched in 2004, and although it looks a little dated, it's still around today.

2005 – The First Office

The company Time and Date AS was established in June 2005, and by November 2005, Steffen had his first office. Before then, he had worked from home in his spare time. However, seeing the popularity of the website, he reduced his day job hours early in 2005 to be able to focus more on the website. By mid-November, he had started working full time on the site.

Steffen and his internal server shared the first ever Time and Date office. With no window to open, it got quite hot.

Illustration image

timeanddate.com website 2005

©timeanddate.com

2006 — What Is the Weather Like?

By 2006, we started buying weather data to add to our services. In the beginning, the weather was just displayed on the city page, and not in great detail.

In the same year, the Sun and Moon information was expanded and presented on new pages.

Weather icon

2008 – From 0 to 20

10 years after launching timeanddate.com, the two first employees were hired. In general, we have grown by about two people every year. Today, the company has around 20 employees from around the globe, all experienced and trained in their fields, with qualifications at graduate and post-graduate levels.

The timeanddate.com gang at the beach.

The timeanddate.com gang at the beach.

©timanddate.com

2009 – First App

2009 saw the launch of the Countdown App for iOS, which was our first.

Today, our app portfolio has expanded to a large number of apps for iOS, Android, and Windows.

2010 – Even more Apps

The iOS Countdown App was received well, so we decided to make more. The next additions were the iOS Meeting Planner in November and the iOS World Clock – Time Zones in December.

iOS World Clock app iconiOS Meeting Planner app icon

2012 – New Offices

With the continued success of our website, more programmers, designers, researchers, and journalists joined the team. When the timeanddate family threatened to outgrow our office space, we packed up all our clocks, calendars, and countdowns and moved to our current address in Svanholmen 2, which is nestled nicely in the hills between the cities of Stavanger and Sandnes.

Excited about live streaming the Total Solar Eclipse in 2017.

The excited crew at timeanddate.com

©timeanddate.com

2012 – Back to the Roots: timeanddate.no

Although our team consists of people from around the globe, we are a Norwegian company, so we decided to launch a Norwegian version of our website, which is now ticking away on timeanddate.no. In fact, our core services, such as the World Clock, were first launched in Norwegian in 1995, so to us, it felt a bit like going back to the roots.

Norwegian Flag

2014 – New iOS and Android Apps

With a new, larger team of app programmers on board, we used much of 2014 to modernize our fleet of apps, launching brand new World Clock Apps for iOS and Android.

Android World Clock app icon
German Flag

2015 – German Site: timeanddate.de

There are about 100 million German native speakers in the world, and in 2015, we decided to überraschen them with a German version of our website. Launched a few days before the total solar eclipse on March 20, timeanddate.de is now attracting tens of thousands of visitors each day, mainly from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland—and still growing.

2016 – timeanddate.com Goes on the Air

On May 9, 2016, the planet Mercury passed in front of the Sun, visible to adequately equipped Earthlings as a tiny spec. Although we offer realistic animations for events like this, we decided to try out our new in-house telescope and share our footage with you. Check out a recording of our first live broadcast

Live streaming Mercury transit in 2016.

Live streaming Mercury transit in 2016.

©timeanddate.com

2017 – Great Footage of a Great Eclipse

August 21, 2017 saw the Great American Eclipse, which was probably the most watched eclipse in human history. We flew in astrophysicist Graham Jones from Japan to celebrate this momentous event with us and add his insights to our live stream. See a recording here

Total solar eclipse at its maximum point or totality. (Illustration)

©bigstockphoto.com/mazzzur

2017 – Extending our App Portfolio

You appeared to like the apps we launched in 2014, so we decided to make more of them. 2017 saw the addition of apps like the Time & Date Calculator App for iOS and the Meeting Planner App for Android.

iOS Date Calculator app iconAndroid Meeting Planner App Icon

2016 & 2017 – Gazing at the Stars

Time and timekeeping are intricately linked to the movements of the Earth and the Moon in relation to the Sun and other stars, so we've always had a knack for astronomy.

In 2016 and 2017, we gradually added more cool astronomy stuff, including the Night Sky pages showing when and where to spot the planets as well as loads of new graphic services about the planet sizes and order, the distance and brightness of the planets, and the Moon's orbit around Earth—and there is plenty more in the pipeline!

Illustration image

©timeanddate.com

May 24, 2018 – timeanddate turns 20!

Oh, by the way, we're older than Google ; )

Illustration of birthday cake and balloons with 20 years online

©timeanddate.com

thinking icon

What's Next?

What do you think about our services? What should be added next? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Take the survey

Supporter icon

Become a Supporter

Help us keep time. Become a supporter!

Find out more