6 Jobs That No Longer Exist

The rat race, the daily grind, the nine-to-five. Whatever you name it, you’ve undoubtedly worked a few jobs throughout your life. And, while technology has transformed many occupations throughout the years, it has also rendered other positions obsolete. Even contemporary jobs like travel agent and cashier are on the verge of extinction. We decided to look back at some of the professions that are no longer available; some are recent, and some are hard to believe. Check it out for yourself!

1. Telecommunications Operator. Making a phone call required the assistance of a switchboard operator prior to the emergence of computerized telephone dialing systems. We won’t go into too much detail because some of you may have had this position at one point, but the switchboard operator would connect calls by inserting phone plugs into the proper jacks.

2. The Gandy Dancer. Don’t be fooled by the name; being a Gandy dancer is a difficult job! Gandy dancer is an early railroad worker slang phrase. Before machines could lay and maintain railroad lines, the labor was done by hand. The roots of the name are unknown, but many believe it comes from the “Gandy Shovel Company.”

3. Pinmakers. We were startled to learn about this one. Bowling alleys used pinsetters before Gottfried Schmidt devised the automated pinsetter in 1936. Yes, a pinsetter was responsible for resetting bowling pins after they had been knocked down, hence the name (the post was also known as a “pinboy,” because many pinsetters were teenage boys due to the nature of the job).

4. Soda Jerks. If there’s one job we’re particularly fond of, it’s the soda jerk. Until the 1960s, they were the servers who made ice cream sodas and soda water at drugstores. Though a soda jerk was technically known as a soda clerk, the name was derived from the server’s motion of swinging the soda handle back and forth while adding the soda water.

5. Radio Performers. While this job technically exists in the form of radio ads, the days of radio performers entertaining us on series such as The Lone Ranger or The Burns and Allen Show are long gone. Not only were the performances fantastic, but so was the way they created sound effects. Check out this behind-the-scenes video to see for yourself.

6. Lamplighter. Electricity changed so many things, even how we illuminated our streets at night! Before light bulbs, the most frequent way to illuminate the night sky was with a candle, oil, or gas. The lamplighter was required to physically ignite these lights. Most lamplighters utilized a massive pole to reach the light and would return in the early morning to extinguish it.

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