They say no one wants to work anymore, but consider the fact that… no one has ever wanted to work. Because work sucks!
Even and especially in the days of yore, when the world was full of absolute batshit professions. From calculating comets to calculating NASA flight paths, from night owls with sticks to infants for rent, from sniffing out the truth to sweeping for coins, from churchgoers beware to royal fireplaces need royal care, from stink your way to success to Polish fighters, from cotton scavenging to bringing a mourner to your funeral, from scavenging in sewers to connecting the dots, and from flaming torches to criminal gangs – these professions have been forgotten in the modern world, but they remain a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our ancestors. This list celebrates the unique and often bizarre jobs of the past, and the people who made them their livelihood. So, without further ado, let us take a journey through the strange and wonderful world of historical professions.
Scavenging in sewers: Surprisingly profitable and full of folklore
Sweeping for coins
Churchgoers beware: Dog-whippers on patrol.
Connecting the dots: Telephone operators make history.
Cotton scavenging with machines running?
Bring a mourner to your funeral - no talking allowed.
Polish fighters: Blood donors for science.
Flaming torches and criminal gangs: a night out in London!
Night owls with sticks: the unique job of the knocker upper.
Stink your way to success: the 18th century’s unwashed hermits.
Royal fireplaces need royal care – enter the fendersmith!
Infants for rent: 19th century’s shady business.
19th century British invasion: Elocutionists take the U.S. by storm.
From Calculating Comets to Calculating NASA Flight Paths.
Sniffing out the truth: Prussia’s 400-strong Kaffeeriecher.