These Jobs No Longer Exist

As you go through US Federal or state census records you will come across jobs held by your ancestors that just do not exist any longer in America.

So here is a look at some such jobs gone forever.

Gandy Dancer is a slang term used for early railroad workers. Before machines became capable of laying and maintaining railroad tracks, that work was done by hand. The term’s origins are unknown, but may come from the “Gandy Shovel Company.”

In bowling alleys, a long-time popular sport of bowling had to have pinsetters – those people who at the end of the bowling alley reset up those pins knocked down. With mechanical pinsetters in all modern bowling alleys, the use of a person to reset pins is gone.

Before television actors for shows, great programs were done on the radio. Shows like the Lone Ranger, Amos ‘n’ Andy, Charlie Chan, Hopalong Cassidy, I Love a Mystery, and Roy Rogers Show, to name a few, needed radio actors to say the lines and act out the character’s part for each show. Even people needed to create the sound effects for the radio. With fewer radio shows and the popular shows on television growing by the 1950s, actors on the radio were not needed.

An occupation that is gone but once very necessary was that of a milkman, who delivered fresh bottles of milk to a family’s front door. Many of you will remember the milkman coming to your house.

The telephone switchboard operator was very important to connect people calling one another on their phones. With a computerized telephone dialing system, the operator to make the phone connect was no longer needed.

An encyclopedia salesman is a position that is gone. The salesman of ‘World Book’ or ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ would go door to door in a neighborhood making available the purchase of a set of encyclopedias for the home. Today all the information found in any encyclopedia is now on a computer using a search engine like Google.

Photo: Telephone Operators in Stuart, Fl in the 1950s.

Related Blogs:

Occupations by Another Name

Abbreviations of Occupations in City Directories

Your Ancestor’s Occupation

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