To provide information of the incidence trends of Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus we performed a cohort study of a series of Danish male birth cohorts. All male livebirths in Denmark between 1 January 1949 and 31 December 1964, were investigated regarding the development of Type 1 diabetes during the first 20 years of life using the files of the Danish Conscript Board, supplemented by a search in the Danish National Registry of Deaths. Diagnosis was verified and clinical information obtained from medical records. The material is estimated to be more than 95% complete. A total of 1705 diabetic subjects were identified of whom 23 were not representative of idiopathic Type 1 diabetes. The cumulative rate of Type 1 diabetes development during the first 20 years of life increased from 2.37 to 2.90 per 1000 for the first eight and last eight birth cohorts, respectively. A log-linear analysis of the incidence revealed significantly increasing incidence rates, independent of age effects, with a maximum in the late 1970's. About 75% of the cases presented short duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis, and only very few cases were diagnosed incidentally. Cases were diagnosed relatively less frequently during summer months than during winter months.