Weird Jobs That Have Disappeared

Weird Jobs That Have Disappeared

02nd January 2020

If you scan through a jobs website these days you will some positions that have only come into existence recently. Our ancestors would have been bamboozled by titles like digital marketing specialist, app designer and chief listening officer.
Yet, there were also plenty of jobs in the past that no longer exist or are close to dying out. Here are a few of the most interesting ones.

Knocker-uppers 
Have you ever wondered how people got up in time for work in the days before alarm clocks were common? Well, many of them relied on knocker-uppers to do this. This person would throw pebbles at windows or use a long stick to tap on them. 
It first appeared as a job during the Industrial Revolution, when large groups of people all needed to get up at the same time. However, it faded out in most places when the mechanical alarm clock was invented in the mid 19th century. The big question is who used to make sure the knocker-uppers woke up on time.

Chimney Sweeps 
This is another job that was in great demand during the Industrial Revolution, as buildings got taller and more chimneys were grouped together in the cities. The arrival of electric and gas central heating meant that their services were no longer as important as before.
They worked at height and without basic safety equipment like a step unit or helmet. Chimney sweeps made their way into popular culture thanks to Mary Poppins, which had Dick van Dyke playing Bert the chimney sweep. This job still exists to some degree, but as a profession it has virtually died out.  

Lamplighters 
In this job, the person had to light up street lamps in the evening and turn them off when the sun rose in the morning. They worked with candle or gas lamps, so the introduction of electric lamps in the late 19th century meant that they were no longer needed.
A few lamplighters exist in some part of the world, but more as a novelty or heritage role rather than the sort of widespread position it was before. 

Rat Catchers
Rats were a huge problem in Europe from the Middle Ages onwards. Large populations of the rodents made cities unhygienic. These animals were often responsible for spreading disease, such as the Black Plague.
Rat catchers would either try and trap the rodents or would use animals to do this. These days, modern methods of pest control such as traps and bait mean that this position has become redundant.  

Herb Strewers
Some jobs from the past were dangerous and others were deeply unpleasant. In the case of herb strewers, it seems like a pretty decent position, to be fair. These people were employed in the 17th century to scatter herbs and flowers around the residences of royal families.
The idea was that they would cover up the nasty smells of the time before sewers existed. 
Apparently, they used the likes of roses, basil and lavender to make the air smell more pleasant.