Special Report

Forgotten Jobs: Formerly Common Careers That No Longer Exist

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Copy boy
> In demand approximately until: Early 21st century

Copy boys, often the most junior members of a newspaper staff, were tasked with bringing typed stories from one department of a newspaper to another. With the advent of the internet and other ways of transporting information, the job became basically extinct.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Dictaphone operator
> In demand approximately until: Mid-20th century

The Dictaphone, one of the first machines capable of recording sound, was commonly used to record speech to be played back and transcribed. The machine was invented by Alexander Graham Bell and used wax to imprint recordings. The job became obsolete with more convenient recording and playback technology.

Dog whipper
> In demand approximately until: 17th century

Jobs exist when there is a significant demand for the services they provide and apparently, for several centuries in Europe, there was a serious need for someone to keep unruly dogs off church property during services. At the time, it was common for household dogs to follow their owners to church, and someone had to deal with the ones that misbehaved. Dog whippers normally carried a long whip and a pair of tongs for removing canines.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Herb strewer
> In demand approximately until: 1850s

Herb strewers spread herbs and flowers around royal and noble residences in the UK to mask the unpleasant odors of life before sewer systems became prevalent in the 1850s and after. The creation of sewage infrastructure made the position obsolete.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Human computer
> In demand approximately until: 20th century

Human computers were people whose jobs were to complete advanced mathematical calculations. They often worked in multiple teams to ensure accuracy. The rise of mechanical computers made their jobs obsolete.

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