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5 Old-Timey Jobs You’ll Never Have


Want to be a daguerreotypist when you grow up? Well, too bad, because you can’t. If that seems like harsh news, best avoid Business Insider’s awesome list of 1850s-era jobs that no longer exist. (The rest of us can marvel that there was ever a person who made baking soda for a living.)

chimney sweep 

(Photo Credit: keremtapani/Flickr)

A few more jobs that have disappeared in the U.S., at least as far as the Bureau of Labor Statistics is concerned:

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1. Hacklers: Also known as Hemp Dressers, these folks separated hemp for the linen industry. Replaced by: a machine.

2. Match Makers: Yes, just like in “Fiddler on the Roof,” match makers actually matched up brides and grooms. Replaced by: internet dating sites.

3. Occultists: “People who study magic, alchemy, extra-sensory perception, astrology, spiritualism, and divination,” according to Business Insider. Replaced by: Susan Miller.

4. Lapidaries: Artisans who create jewelry out of gemstones and minerals. Replaced by: Etsy.

5. Chimney Sweeps: This job actually still exists, if not officially for BLS purposes. As long as there are chimneys, there will be people who clean them — even if they aren’t underage children who climb into the chimneys themselves. This wonderfully titled New York Times article, “Lawmaker Warns About Fraud by Unscrupulous Chimney Sweeps,” dates from 2009, and a quick search on Google shows that there are plenty of (presumably scrupulous) professionals who will clean and inspect your fireplace for a fee. Just don’t expect them to be wearing a top hat or look like Dick Van Dyke.

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Which old-timey job would you want? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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