1.) Bowling Ally Pinsetter:Photo credit: Shorpy
This job was intended for small children (back before there were child labor laws), who would stack up pins when there was no machine to do it for them.Photo credit: Chewynutter
Now people can embarrass themselves in peace.
2.) Food Safety Testers:Photo credit: Latimesblogs
Before there were mandated food safety standards, people were allowed to put whatever they wanted into a product. So in order to know there was nothing poisonous or any other harmful items in the food, these safety testers would eat it and make sure they were safe. Sometimes eating good food comes at a high price.Photo credit: Huffington Post
If you’re going to do it, you might as well embrace it.
3.) “Knocker Uppers” or Human Alarm Clocks:Photo credit: Unsworthfamilyhistory
These people would walk around with long sticks tapping on people’s windows, throwing pebbles, and shouting at the top of their lungs to make sure people were up on time for work.Photo credit: Gifsplosion
It’s a good thing alarm clocks were invented, for this reason alone.
4.) Rat Catchers:Photo credit: Mvgphoto
During a time when cities were heavily infested with rats, a rat catcher was considered a very important public service. Rats commonly carried diseases, and it was a rat catcher’s job to eliminate as many as possible while risking getting bitten.Photo credit: Thehungergames.wikia
I think “eww” would be the general consensus on this task, which is now covered by mechanical traps and poisons.
5.) Elevator Operators:Photo credit: Archive.azcentral
They were in charge of taking passengers to their desired floor and keeping passengers safe. Only an individual who excelled at precision could be given this job.Photo credit: Paullee.com
They made it so difficult for Rose to get away during ‘Titanic.’
6.) Milkman:Photo credit: Gigabiting
Before refrigerators were a common household item, people had no way of keeping milk from spoiling. Milkmen would deliver the product to people’s homes on a daily basis, which was considered a very essential job to society at the time.Photo credit: 25.media.tumblr
Fortunately, today we don’t have to make sure we finish all of our milk in one day.
7.) Lector Who Entertains Factory Workers:Photo credit: Funkyfeed
This was your modern day podcast or radio. Factories used to hire live lectors who would come into the factory and read literature to the workers to keep them entertained while doing often tedious work.Photo credit: Pichaus
It’s a good thing iPods were invented.
8.) Log Drivers:
Before trains, before trucks, before cars, and before roads there were log drivers, because people still needed lumber. Log drivers would transport logs and other forms of lumber from the forest to the mill by dragging them through rivers.Photo credit: Gradlifethrugifs
One would imagine this is how they felt after a day’s work.
9.) Radio Actors:Photo credit: Seckatary
Before television, people still needed a form of entertainment. This is where the radio came into play. Radio programs had people perform skits, similar to modern sitcoms on TV today.Photo credit: Reddit
Even then, people had shows they were embarrassed to admit they tuned in to.
10.) Street Sweepers:Photo credit: Yoliverpool
Usually a job for teenage boys, they would literally sweep the streets and sidewalks. They were also required to pick up trash and other debris. They commonly performed their jobs during the late hours of the night or very early in the morning, before pedestrians were out and about.Photo credit: Okmoviequotes
Working this young held kids back from doing what they really loved.
11.) Pre-Radar Listeners:Photo credit: Retronaut
Before there were sophisticated forms of radar, the Army invented this device which detected sound waves through these amplified receivers, or “ears” as they were referred to. The men operating the machine would listen for any detection of incoming enemy.Photo credit: Reddit
Better not make the mistake of confusing what you heard with this job.
12.) Quarrymen:Photo credit: Vallyofstone
Before high-powered machines, people still wanted granite countertops in their kitchens. Rocks could easily fall on workers and injure or even kill them. Quarrymen extracted stone from the earth, and would carve various items. You could say this was the beginning of interior design.
The Real Housewives of Orange County would be proud.
13.) Lamp Lighters:Photo credit: Lamplighterswooster
While it’s hard to believe, before electric lamps were a common item, streets had to use lamps which were fueled by gas. Lamp lighters would walk the streets right before it got dark and ignite the flames.
“We didn’t start the fire.” These guys did.
14.) Coal Stoker:Photo credit: Cityofart
Before there was technology to keep ships running, they required human labor. Coal stokers were men of all ages who worked in the boiler rooms on large ships, shoveling coal into the furnaces to keep the ships running. This was an extremely demanding and dangerous job.
You may have a better idea of what coal stokers did in this scene from Titanic, when Jack and Rose shared a romantic kiss in the boiler room.
15.) Computer:Photo credit: Madeinamericathebook
Before actual computers, or at least ones the general public has access to, there was a job title “computer.” No, seriously. This job was carried out mostly by women, and would involve them converting figures and crunching numbers by hand. Demand for applicants to fill this position boomed during WWI and WWII.
Society went from having to manually transcribe figures to worrying about drones and robots taking over the world within 50 years. Go figure.
16.) Switchboard Operator:Photo credit: Influxis.
With billions of phone calls now being made every day, it would be impossible for switchboard operators to keep up with the high demands. Although not long ago, switchboard operator was still considered a very important career. They were the people who connected every single phone call by literally connecting wire to wire so people can have a conversation. While this was all done manually, today it is all done digitally. This job was most commonly performed by women.
People just have way too many important phone conversations a day for this job to be possible anymore.
17.) Resurrectionist or Resurrection-men:Photo credit: Dailymail
Also known as a body snatcher, a resurrectionist would go to graves and dig up corpses. The purpose of this job would be to then sell the deceased body for dissection and autopsy, often presented during classes at medical schools.
The first thing these guys better make sure of is that the bodies they are digging up are definitely no longer alive.