Saturday, August 16, 2008

Defunct professions

Economists like to cite "buggy whip maker" as an example of a profession whose career prospects were dimmed, and ultimately quenched, by the inexorable march of technological progress. Some other jobs which have become obsolete:

  • leech collector
  • harbinger
  • powder monkey
  • match girl
  • mudlark
  • child chimney sweep
  • loblolly boy
  • featherie maker
  • faggot maker
  • doctor maker
  • maiden maker
  • sprigger
  • spragger
  • legger
  • pugger

Of course, many of these jobs existed long before OSHA regulations were in effect. So a few side effects were to be expected. I will return to this topic in a future post. For now, let us just be glad that the incidence of cancer of the scrotum has decreased, along with the waning use of children as chimney sweeps.

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