Careers, 1911


We now live in a place that still uses an ancient occupation tax, and as a result its list of occupations includes a number of jobs that don’t exist any more, such as  IBM Key Punch, Paste-Up Artist, Teletypist and Photolithographer. It also lists a number of jobs that technically may still exist but certainly cause one to question how many people are included under the title, such as Roller Skate Instructor, Tire Builder, and Paper Boy. (Did we mention that the titles remain wildly sexist?) And then there are some that are just confusing, such as Tool Out Man and Night Counselor.

But that’s all down here in Chester County, PA. In looking through the 1911 directory for Troy, NY, it’s easy to find numerous jobs that simply don’t exist anymore. In the course of just a couple of pages of the directory, we find these jobs that no one aspires to in the 21st century:

  • Shirtironer
  • Collar worker
  • Collar cutter
  • Collar turner
  • Last maker [shoemaking]
  • Stitcher
  • Carriagetrimmer
  • Horseshoer
  • Coremaker
  • Buttonhole maker
  • Oilcloth printer
  • Stamper
  • Grinder
  • Paster
  • Starcher
  • Brushmaker
  • Buffer

Kids today aren’t likely to have to discuss any of those careers with their guidance counselors.

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