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Thread: 20 Very Obscure Victorian Era Jobs

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    20 Very Obscure Victorian Era Jobs



    The Industrial Revolution at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century changed the way that work was done, leading to some very specific occupations. Since 1841, a census was taken every decade in England, recording people's vital data, including what they did for a living. Below are 20 obscure but fascinating ancient jobs from the Victorian era.

    1) Abecedarian - Dating to at least the early 17th century, an abecedarian was someone whose task was to teach, literally, the ABCs or the alphabet. The term was then used more broadly as a word for someone who taught elementary school or who was an elementary student.

    2) Antigropelos Maker - A very rare word from the 19th century that was cobbled together from Greek roots, antigropelos were a kind of legging that protected you from wet mud. Someone who created these galoshes of sorts was called an antigropelos maker, and would sell them to gentlemen who didn't want to get their trousers and boots dirty during hunting.

    3) Battuere - Speaking of hunting, the person whose job it was to shoo game from hiding during a hunt was called a battuere. This comes from the Latin for "to beat."

    4) Belly Builder - The 1891 census recorded this occupation, which was someone who built the interior of a piano.

    5) Childbed Linen Warehouse Keeper - As most children were born at home in the 19th century, there was a cottage industry in hiring out bed linen specifically for childbirth purposes. This was usually a job for women, but may also involve bed clothes and linens for the new mother and child. It's recorded in an 1842 book of trades.

    6) Cork Sock Maker - An 1858 dictionary of trades lists this occupation as someone who cuts cork for the soles of shoes.

    7) Dripping Man, Coster Wife, Ale Conner - A number of old jobs are specific to food and drink. A dripping man collected and sold fat (drippings) of meat. A coster wife (also called a fruitestere) was a female fruit seller. And an ale conner was a taste-tester who ensured the ale served in pubs was of high quality.

    8) Faker - Before photographs were made in color, a faker was the person who colorized them by hand.

    9) Foot Straightener - This job was a specific one related to the watchmaking industry. Dial feet are often short pieces of wire in the back of a clock that serve to keep the dial in place. Someone whose job it was to fix this issue with clocks was called a foot straightener.

    10) Gummer - The machine that cuts out the spacing between the teeth of a saw is called a gummer. Thus, someone whose job it was to use a gummer to create or repair saws was also called a gummer.

    11) Honey Dipper, Mudlark, Purefinder, Tosher - A surprising number of jobs in 19th century England relate to sewers or sewage. Mudlarks and toshers were people who scavenged in river mud or in sewers, respectively, for items that they could sell. Honey dippers collected sewage from households, and purefinders collected dog poop from the streets; both of these jobs were required to help the tanning industry run.

    12) Jongleur - This is a term borrowed from French for a wandering or itinerant entertainer, usually one who composed and sang songs or recited poetry. The word is related to the English 'juggler' and from the Latin word for 'joke', and as an occupation is first attested in the 18th century.

    13) Mountebank - While this word is now synonymous with charlatan, in its original 16th century use, it was more specific. A mountebank sold fake medicine ('snake oil') by drawing in customers with jokes or tricks.

    14) Nob Thatcher - Also spelled knob thatcher, this delightful occupation may sound like a Medieval insult, but was the term for a wig-maker.

    15) Pleacher, Plumassier, Scagiola - These are three other -maker occupations we no longer have words for. A pleacher was someone who laid hedges, a plumassier made ornamental feathers, and a scagiola maker created imitation marble.

    16) Schrimpschonger - Someone who worked as a bone-, ivory-, or wood-carver might be called a schrimpschonger. I am assuming this word may be related to scrimshaw, but the Oxford English Dictionary does not seem to know the origins of that word either.

    17) Whiffler - A whiffler is someone who leads the way in a procession, sort of a herald or usher but more specific.

    18) Woolen Billy Piecer - When children were employed in textile factories, it was often as piecers, who mended broken thread on the spinning machine, which was called a billy. So a woolen billy piecer was generally a kid whose job was to make sure wool was being spun correctly.

    19) Xylographer - Someone who created woodblock illustrations and did woodblock printing.

    20) Zymologist and Zythepsarist - These two alcohol-related jobs further solidify the important role of the substance in Victorian England. A zymologist was someone who was specifically skilled at fermenting and creating liquor, while a zythepsarist was someone who created brewed drinks, as the term comes from the Greek for 'barley beer boiler'.

    If those weren't enough ideas for your next new-old job title, check out this massive list of 19th century British occupations for more!

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristin.../#7124504d1801
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    The Industrial Revolution at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century changed the way that work was done, leading to some very specific occupations. Since 1841, a census was taken every decade in England, recording people's vital data, including what they did for a living. Below are 20 obscure but fascinating ancient jobs from the Victorian era.

    1) Abecedarian - Dating to at least the early 17th century, an abecedarian was someone whose task was to teach, literally, the ABCs or the alphabet. The term was then used more broadly as a word for someone who taught elementary school or who was an elementary student.

    2) Antigropelos Maker - A very rare word from the 19th century that was cobbled together from Greek roots, antigropelos were a kind of legging that protected you from wet mud. Someone who created these galoshes of sorts was called an antigropelos maker, and would sell them to gentlemen who didn't want to get their trousers and boots dirty during hunting.

    3) Battuere - Speaking of hunting, the person whose job it was to shoo game from hiding during a hunt was called a battuere. This comes from the Latin for "to beat."

    4) Belly Builder - The 1891 census recorded this occupation, which was someone who built the interior of a piano.

    5) Childbed Linen Warehouse Keeper - As most children were born at home in the 19th century, there was a cottage industry in hiring out bed linen specifically for childbirth purposes. This was usually a job for women, but may also involve bed clothes and linens for the new mother and child. It's recorded in an 1842 book of trades.

    6) Cork Sock Maker - An 1858 dictionary of trades lists this occupation as someone who cuts cork for the soles of shoes.

    7) Dripping Man, Coster Wife, Ale Conner - A number of old jobs are specific to food and drink. A dripping man collected and sold fat (drippings) of meat. A coster wife (also called a fruitestere) was a female fruit seller. And an ale conner was a taste-tester who ensured the ale served in pubs was of high quality.

    8) Faker - Before photographs were made in color, a faker was the person who colorized them by hand.

    9) Foot Straightener - This job was a specific one related to the watchmaking industry. Dial feet are often short pieces of wire in the back of a clock that serve to keep the dial in place. Someone whose job it was to fix this issue with clocks was called a foot straightener.

    10) Gummer - The machine that cuts out the spacing between the teeth of a saw is called a gummer. Thus, someone whose job it was to use a gummer to create or repair saws was also called a gummer.

    11) Honey Dipper, Mudlark, Purefinder, Tosher - A surprising number of jobs in 19th century England relate to sewers or sewage. Mudlarks and toshers were people who scavenged in river mud or in sewers, respectively, for items that they could sell. Honey dippers collected sewage from households, and purefinders collected dog poop from the streets; both of these jobs were required to help the tanning industry run.

    12) Jongleur - This is a term borrowed from French for a wandering or itinerant entertainer, usually one who composed and sang songs or recited poetry. The word is related to the English 'juggler' and from the Latin word for 'joke', and as an occupation is first attested in the 18th century.

    13) Mountebank - While this word is now synonymous with charlatan, in its original 16th century use, it was more specific. A mountebank sold fake medicine ('snake oil') by drawing in customers with jokes or tricks.

    14) Nob Thatcher - Also spelled knob thatcher, this delightful occupation may sound like a Medieval insult, but was the term for a wig-maker.

    15) Pleacher, Plumassier, Scagiola - These are three other -maker occupations we no longer have words for. A pleacher was someone who laid hedges, a plumassier made ornamental feathers, and a scagiola maker created imitation marble.

    16) Schrimpschonger - Someone who worked as a bone-, ivory-, or wood-carver might be called a schrimpschonger. I am assuming this word may be related to scrimshaw, but the Oxford English Dictionary does not seem to know the origins of that word either.

    17) Whiffler - A whiffler is someone who leads the way in a procession, sort of a herald or usher but more specific.

    18) Woolen Billy Piecer - When children were employed in textile factories, it was often as piecers, who mended broken thread on the spinning machine, which was called a billy. So a woolen billy piecer was generally a kid whose job was to make sure wool was being spun correctly.

    19) Xylographer - Someone who created woodblock illustrations and did woodblock printing.

    20) Zymologist and Zythepsarist - These two alcohol-related jobs further solidify the important role of the substance in Victorian England. A zymologist was someone who was specifically skilled at fermenting and creating liquor, while a zythepsarist was someone who created brewed drinks, as the term comes from the Greek for 'barley beer boiler'.

    If those weren't enough ideas for your next new-old job title, check out this massive list of 19th century British occupations for more!

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristin.../#7124504d1801
    I could definitely picture myself as an Ale Conner!

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