Awfully Frustrating Jobs From The Past

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    Before automated machines human labor was needed for even the simplest of jobs…. take resetting bowling pins for example, they use to have to be reset by hand. These were the days when humans were the dependable source before machinery. Maybe it was for the better or maybe it was for the worse, you be the judge.


    Bowling Alley Pinsetter

    Bowling alley pinsetters were young boys employed at bowling alleys to set up the pins for clients.

    1. Bowling Alley Pinsetter (1)

    1. Bowling Alley Pinsetter (2)

    Human Alarm Clock

    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.

    2. Human Alarm Clock (1)

    2. Human Alarm Clock (2)

    2. Human Alarm Clock (3)

     Ice Cutter

    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.

    3. Ice Cutter (1)

    3. Ice Cutter (2)

     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.

    4. Pre-radar Listener for Enemy Aircraft (1)

    4. Pre-radar Listener for Enemy Aircraft (2)

    Rat Catcher

    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.


    5. Rat Catcher (1)

    5. Rat Catcher (2)

    5. Rat Catcher (3)


    Lamplighters used long poles to light, extinguish and refuel street lamps – until electric lamps were introduced

    6. Lamplighter (1)

    6. Lamplighter (2)

    6. Lamplighter (3)

    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.

    7. Log Driver

    Switchboard Operator
    8. Switchboard Operator (1)

    8. Switchboard Operator (2)


    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.

    9. Resurrectionist

     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.

    10. Lector Who Entertained Factory Workers (1)

    10. Lector Who Entertained Factory Workers (2)

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