9 Bizarre Actual Jobs That No Longer Exist

Rat catcher in America
By Drake Baer

We could all be dinosaurs. The Economist predicts that robots are going to replace telemarketers, accountants, and retail workers, and Bill Gates says software bots will take even more jobs. This isn't the first time that whole swaths of the labor market have gone extinct: The Industrial Revolution did away with gigs that your great-great-grandparents might have had that sound preposterous to us today.

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistic's occupational classification list from 1850 and some research of our own, we found several bizarre-sounding occupations that are now totally extinct.

Additional reporting by Vivian Giang.

9 Bizarre Jobs Our Ancestors Did That No Longer Exist
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9 Bizarre Actual Jobs That No Longer Exist

"Computer" used to be somebody's title. Before electronics took over, these workers--usually women--would convert figures and crunch other numbers by hand.

Photo: Wikimedia

Factory workers needed a little entertainment, so a lector read news and literature aloud to them.

Photo: Wikimedia

> Find a job in manufacturing

Before everyone had refrigerators, milk quickly went bad. So you'd need it delivered regularly by your milkman. With home refrigeration, this profession disappeared.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Chimney sweeps cleaned out the soot that built up over winters spent burning wood to keep warm.

Photo: Wikipedia

Before we had selfies, we had daguerreotypes, the earliest kind of publicly available photograph. These images on polished silver were made by dedicated daguerrotypists.

Photo: Wikimedia

> Find a job in photography

Hemp used to be a major part of the linen industry. The people that separated the coarse parts of it were hemp dressers.

Photo: Library of Congress

Rat catchers snagged the disease-carrying rodents that once ran rampant in residential neighborhoods.

Photo: Wikimedia

A quarryman would extract stone from the earth that may be used for various construction purposes, like a kitchen counter.

Photo: Wikipedia

How did people get up for work before alarm clocks? They hired a "knocker-up" to tap or shoot peas at their windows at an appointed time.

Photo: Recuerdos de Pandora

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