Jobs that have gone extinct

Ice cutter

These were men who cut the ice from frozen lakes. Once cut up, they will then transfer their product to the ice delivery men. These ice cutters worked in extreme conditions, as we you can imagine. Most of them were probably happy when more and more people started using the refrigerator for keeping their food safe.
izmirusas profesijas

cutting ice

Rat catchers

Rat-catching is the occupation of catching rats. Keeping the rat population under control was practiced in Europe to prevent the spread of diseases to man, most notoriously the Black Plague and to prevent damage to food supplies.
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rat catchers


This was the title of a person who would go around the city at night and light all of the lamps by hand. They usually held out a long pole with a wick on the end to light the street lights.
lamplighter kensington circa

lamplighter - jobs that have gone extinct

Bowling Alley Pinsetter

Before bowling alleys had machines to reset their pins, there were people who did it called pinsetters. It was typically a teenagers job and paid very little.
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pinboys nclc04636 - jobs that have gone extinct


A knocker-upper's job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time.
The knocker-up used a truncheon or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients' doors or a long and light stick, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. At least one of them used a pea-shooter. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week. The knocker-up would not leave a client's window until they were sure that the client had been awoken.
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curiosidades1 - jobs that have gone extinct

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Switchboard Operator

Up until three decades ago, switchboard operators were important players in the telecommunications industry. In fact, they were the people who made use of the telephone smoother. They were needed to make long distance calls and to manage busy circuits. But with the advent of digitized telecommunications, switchboard operators had to find new jobs. These days, making long distance calls can be done on your mobile phone. There is call waiting when lines are busy.
photograph women working bell system telephone switchboard

offutt air force base operator

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  • Slash
  • February 12, 2014, 12:03 pm
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  • 3

    Rat Catchers still exist: Meet Charlie Kelly, the King of the Rats
    charlie1 - jobs that have gone extinct

  • 1

    Did the knocker-upper have to hire a knocker-upper themselves to wake up in time to wake their clients?

    Or were people only in that business because they were just really confused prostitutes?

  • 1

    I would love if some of those Jobs would still exist. I Need something I can do while going to college without worrying that I may have too many classes so I cant work for a Semester.

    • Vans
    • February 12, 2014, 5:51 pm
    Classifieds bro. I make like $500 a month doing odd jobs while in college :)
    - casper667 March 1, 2014, 9:30 am
  • 0

    I also like the list by Kara Ladd on essay dune for college students: Odd Jobs That No Longer Exist. My grandpa was a linotype operator until in 60s they invented phototypesetting. At college, I also tried various jobs: animator, pizza delivery manager, cleaning manager, etc.

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