5 Extinct Jobs From The Days Of Yore


With the advancements in technology and innovation in other industries, many jobs that were once very common have become extinct or are on their way to becoming obsolete.

Here’s a fun look at five jobs from days of yore that you definitely won’t find on TalentEgg – or anywhere else for that matter!

1. Lamplighter

Leave it to the lamplighters to illuminate the darkened streets. Armed with a ladder and a light, these trusted workers would light each lamp at dusk, and return to extinguish them at dawn.

Their job also included looking after the wicks and replenishing the fuel. With today’s electric streetlights, it’s rare to see lamplighters anywhere in the world.

2. Iceman

No, I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not the comic book character. Before we had refrigerators we had iceboxes, and iceboxes don’t fill themselves!

Ice companies would cut ice from frozen lakes during the winter, pack them in sawdust, and store them in warehouses for the warmer months. You could count on the iceman to deliver large blocks of ice to your house several times per week.

3. Gong farmer

In London, England, before there was plumbing and a central sewer system, there were cesspool pits filled with human and livestock excrement. Imagine what the city must have smelled like back then! Going from house to house during the night, gong farmers had the smelly task of emptying the pits and transporting the waste away to a dump site to sell to farmers as fertilizer.

Considering what this job entails, it may not surprise you that these workers were paid relatively well.

4. Compositor

In the late 1400s, there was no telephone, no radio – not even a telegraph. But there was movable type printing. Over the centuries, as technology continued to develop and printing shops flourished across Europe and North America, printing became a fantastic way to communicate with the masses.

Pages had to be composed by placing metal letters in a tray, called a galley, before they could be printed. It was the duty of compositors to carefully arrange the letters one by one into words, then lines, then pages. Once the page was checked for typos, spacing and layout, it was off to the next step in the printing process.

5. Knocker-up

It’s hard enough to wake up in the morning with an alarm clock. How did city dwellers do it without one? When other methods and devices were too expensive or failed to do the job, they paid someone to make sure they weren’t late for work.

A knocker-up would walk around in early the morning carrying a long stick with a knob or wire attached to the end. At an agreed time, he or she would rouse sleepy clients by knocking on their windows until they got out of bed. Now the obvious question is: who woke up the knocker-up?

Which jobs do you think will disappear next? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo credit: ozfan22