10 Jobs That No Longer Exist
Filed under History, Latest Posts, Weird, body snatcher, extinct jobs, grave robber, grave robbing, historic jobs, historical employment, historical jobs, historical occupations, jobs that no longer exist, old jobs, old occupations
Creator Lina
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Plenty of jobs exist today that didn’t exist 10, 20 or 30 years ago – social media analyst, app developer, etc. – but we’re not exactly awash in jobs, either. So what happened to all of those old jobs? This list of pictures will go over a few jobs that have gone the way of the dinosaur.

The disappearance of the majority of these jobs can simply be attributed to technological advances. Modern bowling alleys have elaborate systems that collect balls and pins, so pinsetters are no longer necessary. With the spread of proper refrigeration, ice cutters became a thing of the past.

While the world’s hordes of unemployed students may disagree, it’s probably a good thing that most of these jobs are gone. Some of these jobs were very dangerous, and some even employed children. For a better look at child labor, check out our post on historical child labor in the U.S. (via: sharenator)

Update: The Milkman still exists, so it was removed from the article. Thanks for the comments!

1. Bowling Alley Pinsetter

Image credits: shorpy.com

Bowling alley pinsetters were young boys employed at bowling alleys to set up the pins for clients. (Image credits: wikimedia.org)

2. Human Alarm Clock

Image credits: laboiteverte.fr

Image credits: imgur.com

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. (Image credits: laboiteverte.fr)

3. Ice Cutter

Image credits: sharenator.com

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. (Image credits: sharenator.com)

4. Pre-radar Listener For Enemy Aircraft


Image credits: retronaut.com


Before radar, troops used acoustic mirrors and listening devices like these to focus and detect the sound of engines from approaching aircraft. (Image credits: retronaut.com)

5. Rat Catcher

Image credits: retronaut.com

Image credits: retronaut.com

Rat catchers were employed in Europe to control rat populations. They ran high risks of suffering bights and infections, but helped prevent these from spreading to the public. (Image credits: Michael von Graffenried)

6. Lamplighter

Image credits: lamplighterswooster.com

Lamplighters used long poles to light, extinguish and refuel street lamps – until electric lamps were introduced. (Image credits:blogs.democratandchronicle.com)

7. 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. (Image credits: wikipedia.org)

8. Switchboard Operator

Image credits: wikipedia.org

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. (Image credits: wikipedia.org)

9. Resurrectionist


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. (Image credits: paul-barford.blogspot.com)

10. Lector Who Entertained Factory Workers

Image credits: thecigarmaker.net

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. (Image credits:cultura.elpais.com)

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