The job market is an ever changing tide of new employment requirements and old ways of making a living that fall to the wayside. Some today will lament the loss of jobs to robotics. Others look back at jobs that once were available and are glad to know they're gone. So when you're whining about your job, just remember that it could have been worse!
This was a very low paying job that usually ended up falling to the teens looking to make a little spending change.
This employee - commonly called a 'knocker-upper' - were responsible for those morning wake up calls we all love so much. There were no alarm clocks or automated calling systems yet, so this was the next best thing.
The Knocker-Upper could be male or female, and would use whatever means necessary to ensure the guest was awakened at the requested time. Common methods of "knocking you up" included tapping on doors or windows with sticks. When all else failed, they may bring out the pea shooters and aim at the windows until the guest responded.
Before the advent of ice breaker ships, a strong, healthy man could find work as an ice cutter when the lakes froze up. Cutting through the thick sheet of ice was a dangerous job, to say the least.
Airplanes were used in combat before the advent of radar. In order to detect incoming enemy aircraft, soldiers used elaborate headgear to hear the roar of the approaching engines.
That's just a fancy name for a rat catcher. Rats have historically been the vector for the spread of disease across Europe. It wasn't a glamorous job but controlling the rodent population in the cities was a vital undertaking.
Rat catching was not without danger to the worker. Many of these catchers suffered rat bites while performing their duties.
Street lamps were originally fueled with oil or gas, before electric power was available. The lamps had to be manually lit each night, and the flame put out every morning.
Fresh milk delivered to your doorstep each morning was a practice that continued until the 1990s. The traditional milkman fell to the wayside as more advanced refrigeration and preservation methods were implemented.
However, milkmen can still be found making their morning rounds in some places even today.
Logging was a major operation in many areas of the country in the early 1900s. Logs were transported down rivers by force of the current, and the muscle of the log drivers whose responsibility it was to keep the logs moving.
The switchboard operator was who you talked to when you first picked up the phone. Calls had to be manually connected. This, of course, was prior to the digital revolution.
Massive switchboard operations were common in larger cities. The supervisors responsible for moving up and down the long line would often wear roller skates to make their jobs easier.
In the early 19th century, universities needed cadavers - the bodies of dead people - for use in research. These body snatchers liked to think of themselves as resurrectionists, which is just a fancy way of saying "grave robber". They would dig up freshly interred bodies and sell them to the university.
...there was the factory lector. Factory workers, stuck in the daily grind of tedious, repetitive labor, would pool their resources to hire a reader, or lector, to read to them while they worked.
Trade-union literature was a common subject of the material read by the lector. Now doesn't that sound exciting?