Admit it, plenty of people would laugh to think that such jobs once existed.
Back in the day, when things were still fairly simple but a lot harder at times, there were jobs that people might never have thought of today. one has to remember that a lot of things weren’t automated back in those days.
1. Bowling Alley Pinsetter
Bowling alley pinsetters were young boys employed at bowling alleys to set up the pins for clients. Imagine getting blamed because you didn’t set the pins just right, thereby screwing up someone’s perfect game.
Then try to imagine pins flying every which way once they were struck. There had to be some way to stay safe, but if someone put a little too much zip on their shot it feels as though it might be time to duck and cover.
Would this really be worth the pay they made? That is, if they were paid at all? Imagine this kind of thing happening today, CPS would have a field day.
2. Human alarm clocks
Knocker-uppers were essentially alarm clocks – they were hired to ensure that people would wake up on time for their own jobs. They would use sticks, clubs or pebbles to knock on clients’ windows and doors.
A cow bell or something similar might have been better, but that might have managed to wake up an entire building. Imagine having to hear that racket on your day off.
Still, it would be a little creepy to hear this on your window unless you knew what it was and why it was happening. It’s easier to imagine a lot of people teaching themselves to wake up at a certain time.
I mean really, it’s easy to think of how this could turn into a horror movie.
3. Ice Cutters
Before modern refrigeration techniques became widespread, ice cutters would saw up the ice on frozen lakes for people to use in their cellars and refrigerators. It was a dangerous job often done in extreme conditions.
This would definitely be one of those jobs when you really had to keep an eye on your work. Taking a dip in this environment wouldn’t be pleasant. It does make a person wonder if these guys were given hazard pay.
Remember the beginning of Frozen? Ice wasn’t as easy to come back back in the day. Now think of what they might have had to do in warmer climates.
4. Pre-radar Listener For Enemy Aircraft
Before radar, troops used acoustic mirrors and listening devices like these to focus and detect the sound of engines from approaching aircraft.
That looks like it might have the potential to damage someone’s hearing after a while, doesn’t it? Plus, this wouldn’t be a good idea today since an enemy aircraft might spot you before heard them coming. Maybe.
It is kind of interesting to see the early attempts at revolutionizing warfare. Just imagine what people thought when jets started being produced.
5. Rat Catcher
I guess using dogs and cats wasn’t as reliable? Depending on the city, this might have actually been a lucrative trade. But then again, it doesn’t feel as though it would be sought out that often.
You’ve got to wonder how diverse their methods were back in the day. One thing feels certain, they weren’t all that humane about it.
It seems a little excessive, but effective I guess.
Lamplighters used long poles to light, extinguish and refuel street lamps until electric lamps were introduced.
Just imagine how strong a person’s shoulders and arms would have been after doing this for so long.
That does feel like it could get messy. Plus, it’s interesting to wonder if the lamplighters had to clean the lamps as well, or if there was a separate job title for that.
Before suitable refrigeration and preservation techniques were available, milk had to be delivered daily, or else it would spoil. This was the daily job of the milkman.
A lot of folks can still remember having a milkman. Just imagine having to use the milk you were given and getting a new bottle the next day. A lot of people these days can’t stand milk.
You have to think that at some point the milkman would dread the truly hot days, since it’s likely that their cargo had to be offloaded as quickly as possible.
8. Log Driver
Before the technology or infrastructure was available to transport logs by truck, log drivers would float and guide them down rivers from logging sites to processing areas.
This work was often rather dangerous and extremely unforgiving.
9. Switchboard Operator
Switchboard operators were integral parts of a telephone network’s operation before modern technology rendered them obsolete. They would connect long-distance calls and do other things that are now done digitally.
Just imagine the attention to detail a person had to have for this job, not to mention the memorization skills.
It definitely wasn’t a one to two person job.
Resurrectionists, or “body snatchers,” were hired in the 19th century to remove corpses from graves for universities to use as cadavers. Cadavers from legal means were rare and difficult to obtain, so universities had to resort to other means to procure cadavers for their students.
It’s dirty, it’s filthy, but one can only hope that these guys were paid well for this desecration, since some would claim that they were giving up more than their time and morals.
11. Lector Who Entertained Factory Workers
Broadly speaking, a lector is simply someone who reads. However, they were often hired with money pooled from workers to read to large rooms full of manual laborers to keep them entertained. Some read left-leaning or union publications to the workers.
This feels like it would have been a truly irksome job. Imagine reading to a room filled with people who were supposed to be working, and no one was really listening.
On the other hand, the background noise would break up the monotony.
WTR? (Why’s That Radass?)
Sometimes it’s necessary to look back on the past and remember that the life we have now was brought to us by those that worked hard to keep things moving forward. You don’t have to do anything but recognize what it took to come this far. But keep in mind, you don’t have it hard, not like these folks.