Social media analysts, app developers, and other strange jobs that didn’t exist 10, 20, or 30 years ago
are popular now, but there aren’t many other options for careers either. So what happened to all of those old, interesting jobs? This list of pictures will go over a few of the weirdest and best jobs that have gone the way of the dinosaur.
1. Food taster
Ancient Egypt and ancient Rome were the first civilizations to hire workers to taste food for a member of a royal family or a powerful person to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. People can be poisoned with a variety of chemicals, but only cyanide can kill them in a few seconds. Most royals didn’t want to wait days before eating a meal to see if the food taster would become ill because some poisons take time to show their effects.
2. Human Alarm Clock
In a sense, knocker-uppers served as alarm clocks, making sure that people got up on time for their own jobs. They would knock on customers’ windows and doors with sticks, clubs, or rocks.
3. Ice Cutter
Ice cutters would saw up the ice on frozen lakes for families to use in their cellars and refrigerators before modern refrigeration technologies became widely used. It was a dangerous job, often done in extreme conditions.
4. Enemy Aircraft Pre-radar Listener
Before radar, soldiers used acoustic mirrors and listening devices to concentrate and detect the sound of incoming aircraft’s engines. (Retronaut.com credit for the image.)
5. Rat Catcher
In Europe, rat catchers were used to control rat populations. They had a high risk of catching diseases and infections but helped prevent them from spreading to the public.
Up until the invention of electric lamps, lamplighters used long poles to light, extinguish, and refuel street lamps.
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.
8. 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.
In the 19th century, resurrectionists (often known as “body snatchers“) were hired to remove corpses from graves so that universities could use them as cadavers. Universities had to find other ways to get cadavers for their students because it was rare and difficult to get cadavers through legal means.
10. Bowling Alley Pinsetter
Young boys were hired as bowling alley pinsetters, setting up the pins for customers.