Special Report

Forgotten Jobs: Formerly Common Careers That No Longer Exist

> In demand approximately until: 21st century

Arabbers were street vendors who sold fresh fruit and vegetables from horse-drawn carts. Their carts were normally brightly painted and the vendors used signature slogans and chants to draw in clients. The number of arabbers declined throughout the 20th century with the expansion of supermarkets and the reduction in public horse stables. The job was once especially common on the East Coast, and a handful of arrabers still carry on the tradition to this day in Baltimore.

Source: OlegKov / Getty Images

Billy boy
> In demand approximately until: 1960s

Billy boys were mainly tasked with starting fires and brewing tea in “billy” cans for groups of laborers and tradesmen. They were young apprentices who were learning a trade and starting out at the bottom. The position was popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand and fell off with the rise of more formal apprenticeships and more modern methods for preparing tea.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Bowling pin setter
> In demand approximately until: Late 1940s

Before machines existed to reset bowling pins and return balls, the job was done manually. Normally boys and young men would work in bowling alleys, keeping lanes running smoothly. With the invention of mechanical pinsetters in the 1940s, the job quickly became obsolete.

Source: Archive Photos / Stringer / Getty Images

Cigаrette girl
> In demand approximately until: Mid-1950s

Cigаrette girls worked at speakeasies, night clubs, restaurants, sporting events, and other venues. They normally wore short skirts and pillbox hats and carried trays filled with cigаrettes, cigаrs, and candy and other snacks. Cigаrette machines became popular in the mid-1950s and replaced most of the workers and anti-smоking laws extinguished the trade for good. However, a few casinos and nightclubs, especially in Las Vegas, still employ cigаrette girls.

Clock winder
> In demand approximately until: Late 20th century

Before electric clocks were invented, clocks had to be wound up by hand. Clock winders would climb up into the inner workings of large clock towers and turn their mechanisms to keep the massive timepieces functioning. The clock tower that houses London’s Big Ben still employs a clock winder.

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