Can You Identify These Old Fashioned American Jobs?

About this Quiz

The practice of us humans doing different things for money is a concept that has been around for more than a millennia. What started as forced labor evolved with the times, and now, most people on the planet work to earn a living. Technology has done a great job of making most of our jobs easier, but do you know the things people had to go through back in the day? Could you name some now obsolete jobs? Can you identify these old-fashioned American jobs?

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1. Albert comes home every day smelling like cows...

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  1. Lawyer
  2. Rigger
  3. Accountant
  4. Farmer
Farming has to be one of the very first occupations to have existed, although at the time, it probably didn't have a name or an income. People did it merely to survive.
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2. Calvin could repair your leather bag...

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  1. Leather worker
  2. Captain
  3. Sheriff
  4. Radiologist
A leatherwoker is someone who has the skill to create, repair and even design leather products.
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3. Edgar knows a lot about hay piles:

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  1. Baler
  2. Economist
  3. Banker
  4. Sculptor
A baler is anyone who baled hay. It is a word that was also used to refer to mill workers who baled cotton.
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4. Norman lit fires by the street every evening...

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  1. Actor
  2. Chaffeur
  3. Lamp lighter
  4. Roofer
Before electricity was a thing, street lights did exist, but they contained fuel which allowed fire to burn throughout the night. Someone had to go around lighting them every evening.
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5. Nathaniel could customize your suit...

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  1. Singer
  2. Tailor
  3. Caterer
  4. Potter
Tailors create and adjust clothing. It is one of the few jobs that has been around for thousands of years and might be around for another few thousand.
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6. Oscar works with iron and steel...

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  1. Psychiatrist
  2. Blacksmith
  3. Contractor
  4. Driver
A blacksmith's job is to make tools from metals like iron and steel; they use hammers and an anvil to change the shape of the hot metal.
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7. Phineas had a way with machines...

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  1. Millwright
  2. Deputy
  3. Anthropologist
  4. Dermatologist
A millwright's job isn't just at plants or factories. These people are also needed at construction sites.
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8. Ralph grooms men...

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  1. Foreman
  2. Barber
  3. Doorman
  4. Editor
Back in the day (and still to this day) a barber was a man responsible for grooming other men. As the years have passsed, females have also gotten into this field, although it is still male-dominated.
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9. Samuel sourced and sold ice...

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  1. Police officer
  2. Ice cutter
  3. Explorer
  4. Sketch artist
Ice cutting was a pretty busy occupation back when refrigeration wasn't widely available. These men and women would saw ice from frozen lakes and transport it to their customers.
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10. Theo worked on a ship...

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  1. Gardener
  2. Geologist
  3. Sailor
  4. Librarian
Sailors work on ships as part of the crew. There are different kinds of sailors including ones in the military (Navy).
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11. Virgil made cheddar, brie and ricotta...

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  1. Cheesemaker
  2. Sociologist
  3. Manager
  4. Babysitter
Cheesemaking is the art of creating cheese. The Ancient Greeks and Egyptians documented the process in their literature and drawings. The United States, however, was one of the first nations to perfect processed cheese.
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12. Eliza connected long-distance calls...

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  1. Flutist
  2. Solderer
  3. Switchboard operator
  4. Architect
Modern technology wiped out this job, but before, these employees would perform a host of actions, including connecting long distance calls.
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13. Ernest worked with wood...

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  1. Carpenter
  2. Illustrator
  3. Stonemason
  4. Grocer
A carpenter is a person who works with wood. It is a trade that has been around since biblical times; Jesus' father, Joseph, was one.
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14. Levi created and distributed beer...

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  1. Harpist
  2. Laundress
  3. Manicurist
  4. Brewer
Ancient Egyptians were one of the first groups of people to brew beer. Today, it is made all over the world.
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15. Ralph caught rodents...

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  1. Investigator
  2. Rat catcher
  3. Statistician
  4. Chemist
Throughout history, rats have been notorious carriers of disease (The Black Death). So it makes perfect sense that people were employed to get rid of them in Europe and even in the US.
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16. Chester was responsible for cleaning smokestacks...

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  1. Surveyor
  2. Magician
  3. Chimney sweep
  4. Journalist
As fun as Mary Poppins made chimney sweeping look, this job is one of the very first where occupational cancer was reported. What we know today as lung cancer, was called soot wart back in the late 1700s.
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17. Josiah sold alcohol during the Prohibition...

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  1. Quilter
  2. Swimmer
  3. Hush shopkeeper
  4. Pipe layer
Hush shopkeepers came about with the Prohibition; they were men and women who sold liquor at a time when it was forbidden. When that period ended, so did the need for this job.
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18. Jasper made maps...

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  1. Cartography
  2. Warden
  3. Astronomer
  4. Umpire
Cartography is an ancient art that is, in essence, mapmaking. Despite the technology of today, this career is experiencing a spike and is expected to continue doing so until 2024.
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19. Leopold delivered dairy to doorsteps...

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  1. Plumber
  2. Monk
  3. Lifeguard
  4. Milkman
More than half a century ago, there were men whose jobs were to deliver bottles filled with milk to people's houses. Some would go as far as to drop off eggs and butter as well.
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20. Walter sang and recited poetry...

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  1. Podiatrist
  2. Wrangler
  3. Bard
  4. Athlete
In Europe and some places in North America bards were usually men who were both poets and singers.
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21. Henrietta pushed a lot of buttons...

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  1. Coroner
  2. Elevator operator
  3. Nun
  4. Massage therapist
When elevators were first created, they didn't work by simply pushing a button. The operator was responsible for controling the speed, direction and capacity of the machine.
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22. Raymond chopped wood...

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  1. Yodeler
  2. Operator
  3. Hacker
  4. Plumber
The need for woodcutters disappeared with advancements in technology. Now, almost anyone with a chainsaw could be considered a hacker or woodcutter.
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23. Oscar cut and cleaned meat...

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  1. Dishwasher
  2. Butcher
  3. Peddler
  4. Vicar
Butchers have been around well before the Dark Ages and the Renaissance, and it's not a career expected to disappear any time soon.
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24. Vera completed transcipts by creating electronic or hard-copies...

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  1. Baker
  2. Typist
  3. Astronaut
  4. Politician
Typists, much to the surprise of many, is still a job that is in demand today (especially with data entry), despite the leaps and bounds we have taken with computers.
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25. Clara was extremely fast at math...

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  1. Human Computer
  2. Private detective
  3. Pilot
  4. Surgeon
Back in the day, a computer was also a job. It was usually done by women who had to spend the entire day crunching numbers and making calculations by hand, that is,without using a calculator.
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26. Frank helped make newspapers back in the day...

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  1. Physicist
  2. Taper
  3. Radiologist
  4. Linotype operator
Long before keyboards were created, people employed linotype operators to produce newspapers. These people would control a machine capable of producing lines of words by using strips of metal.
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27. Lloyd shouted announcements through the street...

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  1. Watchmaker
  2. Town crier
  3. Jeweler
  4. Model
Town criers were responsible for shouting important news around their town. This job dates all the way back to the 18th century, but was no longer needed when radios and televisions were made mainstream.
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28. Wilbur made handy equipment...

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  1. Teacher
  2. Actuary
  3. Toolmaker
  4. Pilot
Researchers claim that early tools are as old as 2.6 million years. Over the years, the trade has seen a major decrease, especially because of industrialization.
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29. Arnold made art with glass...

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  1. Biologist
  2. Goldsmith
  3. Glassmaker
  4. Doctor
Glassblowing is a very precise art where a piece of molten glass is shaped using a blowpipe or tube. It is an occupation that is rumored to have been around since the 1st century BC.
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30. Elmer helped you out if you needed to fix a tear in your pants...

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  1. Stockbroker
  2. Taxidermist
  3. Photographer
  4. Haberdasher
A haberdasher is someone who did one or both of the following - sold men's clothing or sold accessories needed for sewing, including ribbons, zippers and buttons.
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31. Clyde entertained with his tales...

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  1. Storyteller
  2. Tax collector
  3. Referee
  4. Barber
Storytellers existed purely for entertainment back in the day. They were around before literacy was a big thing and the vast majority of the population could read. Today, the art still exists, but is done through books, movies, plays and television shows.
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32. Stanley killed animals for food...

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  1. Nanny
  2. Actuary
  3. Translator
  4. Hunter
Hunting has been around since prehistoric times. This job is still around today but has become more of a hobby since meat is readily available in stores.
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33. Vincent educated the public about deities...

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  1. Priest
  2. Therapist
  3. Shoe-shine boy
  4. Historian
Men of worship have been around from the time the very first religions were establsihed. No matter which god or gods were being served, there was always someone there to give wisdom, advice and warnings.
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34. Mabel made music...

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  1. Actor
  2. Barista
  3. Musician
  4. Teller
The first musicians created their own primitive instruments using natural materials like rocks, wood, and string. Today, the instruments that make our music have been perfected with time and technology.
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35. Minnie sold eggs...

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  1. Tutor
  2. Tailor
  3. Neurologist
  4. Eggler
Selling eggs is a job that is still very much alive today. These people were and still are repsonsible for selling large numbers of eggs and sometimes poultry at markets.
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36. Lewis turned back (and forward) the hands of time (a clock)...

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  1. Teacher
  2. Pharmacist
  3. Clockwinder
  4. Soldier
A clockwinder, put simply, wound clocks. It was a necessary job seeing as how electric winders had not yet been invented- those came later on during the Industrial Revolution.
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37. Doris draws, paints, and sculpts...

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  1. Geneticist
  2. Upholsterer
  3. Singer
  4. Artist
The term artist, in the past, was used to refer to someone who painted, scultped or drew. Today, it still means the same thing, but can also be used to describe someone who makes music, films, does photography, acts and dances.
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38. Bernard accompanied animals over long distances...

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  1. Park ranger
  2. Nurse
  3. Mechanic
  4. Cattle drover
Cattle droving is a job that requires a person to "walk" livestock over very long distances. Although still practiced in some areas, today there are specialized vehicles capable of carrying these large animals to their destinations.
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39. Myrtle helped birth babies...

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  1. Midwife
  2. Dancer
  3. Mason
  4. Painter
Women who have assisted others in the process of childbirth have existed all across the world, for thousands of years. But dedicated schools for this tough job only emerged in the late 1700s.
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40. Floyd served sodas...

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  1. Veterinarian
  2. Bookeeper
  3. Plumber
  4. Soda jerk
Soda jerks weren't bad-tasting sodas, but rather, people who served them (as well as ice cream). It was one of the most popular jobs a young person could have in the early 20th century.
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41. Roy delivered confidential messages during the war...

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  1. Postman
  2. Secretary
  3. Nurse
  4. Dispatch rider
Dispatch riders were men and women tasked with carrying important messages between military camps - radio transmissions were spotty and could be intercepted.
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42. Herman fought battles on the back of an animal...

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  1. Waiter
  2. Policeman
  3. Cavalryman
  4. Patternmaker
A cavalryman was anyone capable of fighting on horseback or on the backs of other animals like elephants and camels. While it did give these people an advantage during battle, the art did require a lot of skill.
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43. Alvin constructed buildings...

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  1. Builder
  2. Lawyer
  3. Urologist
  4. Fisherman
Builders have been tasked with creating some of the most ourageous and unbelievable structures since thatch huts were built. Today, even with advancements, builders are still needed.
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44. Erwin was a healer...

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  1. Hairdresser
  2. Doctor
  3. Carpenter
  4. Judge
Medicine, like people, has evolved over the years. But on the way to curing diseases, some pretty crazy things have been done - not limited to wearing frogs until you were healed.
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45. Karlene served and helped soldiers...

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  1. Forester
  2. Gardener
  3. Viviandiere
  4. Fireman
This unfamilair word is used to describe women who would follow troops and do everything from cook food to sew clothes and tend to the wounds of the soldiers. The term is French, but found its way to the Americas.
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46. Margaret passed on knowledge...

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  1. Chef
  2. Electrician
  3. Teacher
  4. Farmer
Teachers, in different forms, have existed from the time people have shared knowledge with one another. Today, education is much more structured, formal and expensive.
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47. Kelton extracted minerals by digging...

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  1. Web developer
  2. Miner
  3. Carpenter
  4. Optometrist
Mining is a dangerous job which involves extracting coal and other minerals through the earth.
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48. Pierce created books...

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  1. Butcher
  2. Usher
  3. Writer
  4. Dentist
The art of writing has existed since language could be documented. For thousands of years people have worked as scribes and record keepers, and today, writers still exist.
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49. Raleigh killed pests found in the home...

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  1. Paper hanger
  2. Baker
  3. Zoologist
  4. Exterminator
An exterminator is a pest control practitioner. He or she is responsible for getting rid of a host of pesky animals and undertaking measures to keep them out of the house.
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50. Sophia knew all about plants...

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  1. Cashier
  2. Pathologist
  3. Horticulturist
  4. Welder
A horticulturist is someone who has studied the art of plants and how to propogate them. They know everything from how to breed then to how to plant them, as well as how to care for them and more.
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51. Werther polished and shined shoes...

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  1. Paper hanger
  2. Usher
  3. Shoeshine boy
  4. Electrician
Shoeshine boys often placed themselves on street corners, where they would clean and buff the shoes of passers-by, after which they would apply a wax. Shoeshiners were often boys, but not always.
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52. This person put bowling pins back into their original positions...

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  1. Hairdresser
  2. Receptionist
  3. Bowling alley pinsetter
  4. Tutor
Putting bowling pins back into their original positions is no longer a human job. Now, bowling alleys are all automated, of course.
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53. Waldo used to wake people up...

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  1. Zoologist
  2. Auditor
  3. Human Alarm Clock
  4. Plane Captain
Before alarm clocks were a thing, people used to do the job. If you needed to rise and shine a bit earlier than usual, you would just pay someone to throw pebbles or peas at their window in the morning.
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54. Morton's toolbox included sandpaper, screws, and a circular saw

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  1. Millwright
  2. Baker
  3. Janitor
  4. Cabinet Maker
Yes, people actually used to dedicate themselves just to making cabinets.... and other common household furnishings. Cabinet makers would also repair and revive antique furniture.
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55. Gus dug up graves...

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  1. Body Snatcher
  2. Electrician
  3. Fireman
  4. Politician
Called "Resurrectionists" in England, these people went into graveyards and dug up corpses of the recently dead for anatomical research in universities.
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56. Felicia made and sometimes designed clothes...

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  1. Seamstress
  2. Pre School Teacher
  3. Ice Cream Truck Driver
  4. Historian
What's the difference between a tailor and a seamstress? Good question. A seamstress sews clothes, from scratch, for a living. A tailor dedicates himself more to altering clothing to specially fit his client. Tailors generally work with fancy, more expensive clothes.
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57. Foster brought tea to construction workers...

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  1. Billy boy
  2. Judge
  3. Optometrist
  4. Opera Singer
Billy Boys were entry-level construction workers (or even railroad workers) who earned a minimum salary while learning the tricks of the trade. One of their principal duties? Bringing tea to more experienced workers.
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58. Norman demanded the money you owed to other people....

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  1. Cartoonist
  2. Debt Collector
  3. Fishermen
  4. Tailor
Otherwise known as catchpoles, debt collectors have been around for a LONG time. Debt collectors have earned money getting other people's money back since ancient Babylon. They continue to do so today.
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59. Othello delivered ice to your doorway...

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  1. Secretary
  2. Clown
  3. Iceman
  4. Harp player
Along with milkmen, icemen are no more. They used to be in high demand, however. During the late 1800s (before refrigeration), icemen would go, door to door in cities delivering ice. If you were a stay at home wife, the highlight of your day might have been meeting him.
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60. Anthea sold you your weekly eggs...

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  1. Pastry Chef
  2. Florist
  3. Eggler
  4. Fisherman
Every week, egglers would go to the market, and sell the people... you got it... eggs. Egglers would sometimes travel from town to town to sell their goods.
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61. Julia was an expert at stain removal...

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  1. Laundress
  2. Construction Worker
  3. Softball Player
  4. Waitress
Women used to dedicate themselves, full time, to cleaning other people's' clothes, especially before the rise of the automated laundromats in the 1950s. To find a laundress these days, needless to say, is a rarity.
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62. Francis repaired and maintained a ship's equipment...

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  1. Window Cleaner
  2. Banker
  3. Deckhand
  4. Surgeon
Other job duties associated with a deckhand include: unloading a ship's cargo, relaying important information to the ship's crew, and keeping watch.
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63. Elizabeth often smelled like tobacco...

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  1. Grocer
  2. Stewardess
  3. Dog Breeder
  4. Cigar Maker
Cigar makers, who hand shaped and rolled cigars, needed agile hands. For that reason, in the early 1900s, cigar making had become, largely, a woman's industry.
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64. Gael transported timber down rivers...

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  1. Log Driver
  2. Retailer
  3. Fast Food Worker
  4. Actor
Back when logging was a thing, and trucks couldn't transport lumber, logs were transported via waterways. Often, they weren't loaded onto boats. Instead, they were placed directly in the water and rolled downriver by log drivers, who would stand on top of the logs, and roll them down with their feet.
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65. Nell's main tool was a loom...

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  1. Weaver
  2. Traveling Salesman
  3. Chocolateer
  4. Harpsichord Player
Weavers make cloth (or rugs, or curtains, or such) using a loom. They interlace two different sets of yarns at right angles on the loom, and thereby form the fabric.
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66. Paula spent A LOT of time in the bathroom...

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  1. Necessary Woman
  2. Gardener
  3. Anthropologist
  4. Typologist
Before plumbing had been invented, someone needed to empty chamber pots. Who, you might ask? Necessary Women.
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67. Olaf measured the size of your head...

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  1. Social Media Influencer
  2. Manicurist
  3. Phrenologist
  4. Photographer
Why did phrenologists measure the size of people's heads? It was once believed that doing so was an accurate way to predict somebody's mental abilities.
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68. Mickey worked on the railroads...

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  1. Signalman
  2. Chimney Sweep
  3. Garbage Man
  4. Barista
Signalmen were essential parts of the functioning of early railroads. In the 19th century signalmen used flags to communicate with each other and train drivers, thereby ensuring the smooth flow of train traffic.
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69. Preston worked with movies...

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  1. Paper maker
  2. Mathematician
  3. Orange picker
  4. Film boxer
Like the name suggests, film boxers rolled movie films and stored them safely into boxes.
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70. Norbert worked in textile mills...

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  1. Veterinarian
  2. Plumber
  3. Poet
  4. Doffer
Doffers were often young boys who worked in textile mills, moving bobbins and spindles as needed.
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