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The Way We Worked: What Our Workdays Looked Like 50 Years Ago


It’s Throwback Thursday, so take a ride through history as we learn what the workplace was like for lumberjacks, meter maids, and airline stewardesses 50-plus years ago. Spoiler alert: a lot has changed.

No matter what industry you are in, the standard workplace has evolved a lot over the last 50 years. Many of the occupations our grandparents and great grandparents held are either no longer necessary, or have been automated in some form or another. To shine some light on how the workplace looked 50 years ago, here are some throwback images to give you an idea on how things were done back in the day. Do you know anyone in this images?

A Meter Maid in Chicago, 1960s

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Via Reddit user Meunderwears

Fun fact: The first year for the Meter Maids in Chicago was 1966, and supposedly they weren’t allowed to have “bouffant hairdos.” As you can see, this Meter Maid is clearly breaking the rules. We assume the uniform included a hat as well.

Workmen Doing construction of the Fort Peck Dam in 1936

Via Reddit user marquis_of_chaos

When you think of dams being built back in the day, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably the Hoover Dam. Either way, dam building was a serious and dangerous occupation. In fact, during the construction of the Hoover Dam, 112 deaths were associated with the construction. If you visit the dam today, you will even find a memorial to those who lost their lives. Workers’ deaths like that of the Hoover Dam are practically unheard of today in the U.S.

Macy’s Department Store Employee Cleaning Up After a Christmas Rush, 1948

Via Reddit user WowDidYouSeeThis

You might be thinking, “Where did all that mess come from?” We still live in a world where people go bananas over black Friday deals, but most of us now do it over the internet. This image reminds us that we have been crazy Christmas animals for years. Let’s just say you won’t see a mess like this in your local Macy’s today.

Two Lumberjacks in the Pacific Northwest, 1915

Via Reddit user a-deamer

Think people are still doing this all by hand? You better guess again. Thankfully, advancements in technology have made these type of occupations easier. Trees like this, which we can assume was at least hundreds of years old, often required several days just to saw through the trunk. Often, people working in pairs wouldn’t even be able to see each other until they met at the stump for their lunch break.

College Students Being Trained for Positions as Airline Stewardesses, 1960s

Via Reddit user Meunderwears

Show this image to any flight attendant today and they might explain to you that their jobs are a lot more than just looking nice and having the perfect balance. Still, the image represents a different, more innocent time in airline history that has long passed.

Do you have a historical photo you’d like to share? Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter.

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