Who even remembers half of these jobs existing – and that comes from us, the old guys. If you’re searching for a new job you’re spending more of your time on LinkedIn (so our kids tell us) than scanning your local paper’s Help Wanted ads.

Here are 10 jobs that don’t even exist anymore. Keep on listening to NCX – we don’t want to add “radio disc jockey” as #15.

1. Newspaper Reader

Factories used to hire guys to stand on a step ladder and read the newspaper, books and magazines out loud to factory workers to keep them entertained during the day.


Before the alarm clock was invented, people needed someone to come and wake them up on time. Enter the knocker-up, who came by your bedroom window with a big long pole and whacked your sill until you got up for the day.

3. Rat Catcher

Ah, rats. They used to run our towns at the turn of the century – which means we needed a crew of of people to roam the streets at night and capture them. Kids tended to fill this position.

4. Pinsetter

A game of bowling used to last a lot longer. Not only did you have to take your own score, but you had to wait for a guy to line up your bowling pins between frames.

5. Switchboard Operator

Ladies lined up between switchboards in bigger cities and towns to help connect your phone calls.

6. Milkman

You know, there’s something missing without that door to door service. The milkman used to deliver milk to your door every morning and pick up your old, empty bottles.

7. Lamplighter

All it took was an incredibly long stick and every lamp on your street was lit and extinguished by a man that walked around the block.

8. Ice-Cutter

Before ice machines, it used to be the cold and heavy job of a guy to bring a huge chunk of ice to your door.

9. Lungs

If you were a servant in an alchemist’s quarters your job may have been exciting like the lungs – the person who fanned the fire all day.

10. Food Testers

Before we had regulations on all of our food it was the job of some brave, brave folk to taste the food of particularly important people before they ate their meal – to make sure it wasn’t poison.


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