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Old 09-29-2016, 08:03 AM
Tootingkhamen Tootingkhamen is offline
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Defunct professions

I was looking up the history of my local pub here - it gives census details of people who lived / lodged there over the years.

Amongst these was one Henry Dacey who gives his occupation as "Rag Smasher".

A Google search turns up no information on what the occupation of Rag Smasher might involve - I wonder if anyone here might have some idea?
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:07 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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WAG: someone who prepares rags for paper-making.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:42 AM
Whiskey Dickens Whiskey Dickens is offline
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Given that the only references online are for your pub or to a reference to a rag time piano player, I would believe either the handwriting was misinterpreted, or this gentleman made up a profession name in hopes of describing his obscure job.

Maybe he was a launderer and was being cute about his profession name?
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:50 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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If you want a defunct profession, there Mother repairer.

Once of my favorites from the Dictionary of Occupational Title, but I doubt it exists today.

The job entails making repairs and preparing to the die used to stamp out vinyl records. If it broke or went bad, you'd fix it. Vinyl still exists, but it's such a niche market that I doubt there is any need for a dedicated person to do it.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:11 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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Was this a bit of a seedy pub?

Poking around on google books, I found some old underworld slang dictionaries that list "smash" as a verb meaning to pass counterfeit coins. A smasher was therefore someone who passed fake coins, and was later extended to someone who passed either fake coins or bills. One of several examples given in one book is "pitch a snide or smash a rag". Another book goes into more detail on snide pitching, which is passing counterfeit coins. So apparently he could have been called a snide pitcher as well.

Passing bad bank notes was also called smashing queer screens.

Most of the examples are late 1800s.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:38 AM
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I'd go with paper making. High quality rag paper makers still use stamp mills, kind of an automated mortar and pestle to smash rags to release the fibers.

Early models were powered by water wheels. There was a lot of trouble when the Hollander beater was invented, a machine that used knife-like blades to cut the fiber rather than smash it ... people were afraid of being put out of work by automation and resorted to industrial sabotage, raiding the new factories and smashing the new machines ... happened around 1680.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:42 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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There are still a few of these around, for niche/artisanal markets or at historic sites, but as professions they're largely obsolete:

blacksmith
groom (cared for horses)
cooper (barrelmaker)
teamster (in the original sense - one who drove teams of horses)
muleskinner (ditto, but for mules)
  #8  
Old 09-29-2016, 09:42 AM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Was this a bit of a seedy pub?

Poking around on google books, I found some old underworld slang dictionaries that list "smash" as a verb meaning to pass counterfeit coins. A smasher was therefore someone who passed fake coins, and was later extended to someone who passed either fake coins or bills. One of several examples given in one book is "pitch a snide or smash a rag". Another book goes into more detail on snide pitching, which is passing counterfeit coins. So apparently he could have been called a snide pitcher as well.

Passing bad bank notes was also called smashing queer screens.

Most of the examples are late 1800s.
Another data point to this is that in the US anyway, the type of paper money is printed on is called "rag paper." It's hard to imagine that a bill counterfeiter would call himself a "rag smasher," though, because it sounds like that might have been a little too transparent to people at the time. Maybe he did something like preparing checks or promissory notes for banks, and he was making a joke about it.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:47 AM
Cardigan Cardigan is offline
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Do you suppose railroads still hire 'bulls' or 'bull-men' anymore? They were the brutal guards railroad companies hired to seek out and rough up hobos who tried to hop freight trains in the early 20th century.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:47 AM
Ignotus Ignotus is offline
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I searched Wiktionary for various meanings of rag and found this:

Quote:
Noun
rag ‎(plural rags)
A coarse kind of rock, somewhat cellular in texture; ragstone.

Verb
rag ‎(third-person singular simple present rags, present participle ragging, simple past and past participle ragged)
To break (ore) into lumps for sorting.
To cut or dress roughly, as a grindstone.
Seems likely to me the guy worked down mine.

Last edited by Ignotus; 09-29-2016 at 09:50 AM.
  #11  
Old 09-29-2016, 10:21 AM
silenus silenus is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
There are still a few of these around, for niche/artisanal markets or at historic sites, but as professions they're largely obsolete:

blacksmith
groom (cared for horses)
cooper (barrelmaker)
teamster (in the original sense - one who drove teams of horses)
muleskinner (ditto, but for mules)
Coopers are hardly obsolete. With the world-wide boom in whisk(e)y production, the occupation is in greater demand today than it has been in a century.
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:27 AM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is online now
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Coopers are hardly obsolete. With the world-wide boom in whisk(e)y production, the occupation is in greater demand today than it has been in a century.
OK, but witchfinders and plague doctors are definitely on the decline.
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:37 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Coopers are hardly obsolete. With the world-wide boom in whisk(e)y production, the occupation is in greater demand today than it has been in a century.
Didn't know that! Presumed it was mostly automated these days. Thanks - ignorance fought.

Here's a great old-fashioned job title: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandy_dancer
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:41 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
There are still a few of these around, for niche/artisanal markets or at historic sites, but as professions they're largely obsolete:

blacksmith
groom (cared for horses)
cooper (barrelmaker)
teamster (in the original sense - one who drove teams of horses)
muleskinner (ditto, but for mules)
My great-great-grandfather at one time had his profession listed as a "kalsominer," someone who put up kalsomine (calcimine), a kind of whitewash. To my surprise, this seems to still be an official category at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but there can't be too many people specializing in it.
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:41 AM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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You may find this index helpful:

http://www.census1891.com/occupations-s.php

It lists a "rag cutter" (cuts up rags for papermaking), but no "rag smasher".

My favorite (defunct) job title: "Slubber Doffer". Someone who removes bobbins from spindles in a mill.

Many "defunct" jobs still exist as artisanal curiosities (hell, there are folks out there making medieval swords for sale), but I'm guessing that this sort of industrial-type occupation is indeed "defunct".
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:00 PM
Turble Turble is offline
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I'm sticking with a guy who worked in a paper mill operating a stamp mill.

They did (and still do) smash the rags into pulp to make high grade paper. The Hollander machines cut the fibers rather than smashing, making shorter fibers which makes lower grade paper but makes it a lot faster.

A good book on the subject which I happened to read a couple weeks ago:
Paper: Paging Through History
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:19 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
It's hard to imagine that a bill counterfeiter would call himself a "rag smasher," though, because it sounds like that might have been a little too transparent to people at the time. Maybe he did something like preparing checks or promissory notes for banks, and he was making a joke about it.
Yeah, "rag smasher" in the sense of "counterfeiter" seems to have been strictly criminal argot:
Quote:
Pitching snides is passing fake coins while smashing rags is to do the same with fake notes.
Note that "bag smasher" or "baggage smasher" is 19th-century slang for a luggage handler or porter, still in use (generally in an uncomplimentary sense) for airline baggage handlers. Could the transcriber of the OP's 1881 entry have misread a handwritten capital "B" as an "R"?
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:39 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
Coopers are hardly obsolete.
Neither are grooms, nor ever will be as long as riding stables, private stables, and racecourses exist. Here are some current job listings for grooms, blacksmiths, and other horse-related occupations.

I believe mule-ride guides at the Grand Canyon are still called "muleskinners", but as a job category it's pretty vestigial.
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:39 PM
Sangahyando Sangahyando is offline
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Yeah, "rag smasher" in the sense of "counterfeiter" seems to have been strictly criminal argot:
A wonderful poem as linked-to above: William Ernest Henley's 19th-century translation into contemporary English thieves' cant, of the verses by the late-medieval French petty-criminal-poet Francois Villon, Tout aux tavernes et aux filles. Definition as mentioned upthread, of expression from this poem: "smash a rag" = "change a false note".

Mention in the linked-to-above, of some obscurity seen in the thieves'-cant terms. My computer skills are poor, and I suck at "linking" -- my recent attempt to do so, didn't seem to be working. However; Google the words "suppose you screeve": some minutes ago as I post this, doing that brought up the first "hit", with the heading: "Villon's Straight Tip To All Cross Coves (Canting Songs)". Clicking on that, brings up the English-thieves'-cant text of the poem; followed by copious notes as to the meanings of the various weird expressions -- including as above, "smash a rag".

Fascinating to me; to whom the English-thieves'-cant verses had hitherto seemed superbly sonorous; but considerably less meaningful than "Jabberwocky".
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Old 09-29-2016, 02:07 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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OK, but witchfinders and plague doctors are definitely on the decline.
On a related note, it's getting hard to find openings for superintendents of tuberculosis sanitariums and leper colonies.
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Old 09-29-2016, 02:28 PM
August West August West is offline
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Do you suppose railroads still hire 'bulls' or 'bull-men' anymore? They were the brutal guards railroad companies hired to seek out and rough up hobos who tried to hop freight trains in the early 20th century.
I can confirm that the railroads still have security officers. My friend and I were stopped by one a few years back while rabbit hunting along some railroad tracks.

He introduced himself as being from the "Canadian National Railroad Police", which prompted my hunting partner to bark "Yeah, well this is America, pal!", not comprehending that the officer was affiliated with Canadian National.

Luckily, despite my friends belligerence, he took it easy on us.
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Old 09-29-2016, 02:57 PM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
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OTOH I read where some jobs were making a comeback like butchers, blacksmiths, and persons who can handmake certain items.
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Old 09-29-2016, 03:02 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Neither are grooms, nor ever will be as long as riding stables, private stables, and racecourses exist. Here are some current job listings for grooms, blacksmiths, and other horse-related occupations.....
Compared to their numbers before the Model T, there are very few.
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:44 PM
yabob yabob is offline
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Steel puddler.
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:45 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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OK, but witchfinders and plague doctors are definitely on the decline.
Witchfinders made something of a comeback in the 1980s, resulting in much trouble for heavy metal bands and daycare providers.
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:57 PM
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Don't forget the old favourite, the "sagger maker's bottom knocker".
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Old 09-29-2016, 06:43 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Compared to their numbers before the Model T, there are very few.
Not all that "very", AFAICT. In the US alone nowadays there are estimated to be over 9 million domesticated horses, which is nearly half as big as the US equine population at the start of the 20th century, and a sizable subset of domesticated horses still require hired grooms to take care of them.

"Less common" != "obsolete"; the occupation "groom" is not at all superseded or redundant in the way that, say, coachmen and coal-engine stokers and manuscript scribes have become. Grooms are more like piano tuners: less numerous than they used to be but still quite crucial to the wellbeing of a diminished but significant population.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii
On a related note, it's getting hard to find openings for superintendents of tuberculosis sanitariums and leper colonies.
Unfortunately, new strains of multidrug-resistant TB may mean that the former occupation will be making at least a partial comeback:
Quote:
[...] the growing pool of treatment failures needs to be addressed with a coordinated strategy that involves supported home care interlinked with urgent building of long-term community stay and palliative care facilities.
  #28  
Old 09-29-2016, 06:45 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is online now
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Witchfinders made something of a comeback in the 1980s, resulting in much trouble for heavy metal bands and daycare providers.
Yeah, but they were mostly amateurs in the sense of doing it for the love of the sport. Although there was one fairly accomplished one, who took it to a whole new level. Cotton Mather would have been proud.
  #29  
Old 09-29-2016, 06:51 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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Are there any cordwainers still around?
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Old 09-29-2016, 07:05 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Are there any cordwainers still around?
Yes, in the sense of "artisans who manufacture custom-made shoes from new leather", as opposed to cobblers, who repair or re-make existing shoes. But they're very much a niche luxury market these days: e.g., the Cordwainer Shop in New Hampshire.
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Old 09-30-2016, 01:33 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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There was a time when every medium-sized town had a TV repair shop.
  #32  
Old 09-30-2016, 01:53 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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Knocker Up is my favourite defunct occupation. Unfortunately it is not what it sounds like.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knocker-up
  #33  
Old 09-30-2016, 04:14 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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Don't forget the old favourite, the "sagger maker's bottom knocker".
In the same industry (pottery) there were a lot of specialist jobs, like a glost putter up*. I worked in the area for a while, and I remember my father on a visit being much taken with adverts in the local paper for (this was in the days before sex discrimination laws) "female handlers".
*http://www.thepotteries.org/jobs/

Last edited by PatrickLondon; 09-30-2016 at 04:14 AM.
  #34  
Old 09-30-2016, 10:52 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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There was a time when every medium-sized town had a TV repair shop.
There's one right near my residence: "Bob's TV Repair". I went inside wondering what I would find.

A very dusty & messy shop full of 1990s home stereo gear, a bunch of old posters and LPs for sale, and a few modern DVDs and PC games. Plus one or two extra dusty CRT TVs. With no evidence of any repair shop; no bench, no tools, etc. This trove would look right at home spread on a quilt behind a ratty pickup at a Sunday swap meet in a rural county seat someplace.

Looks like the proprietor is simply wasting away his golden years sitting there waiting to die. Maybe he does a good business in bath salts on the side. It kinda had that vibe although I saw no overt evidence.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 09-30-2016 at 10:54 AM.
  #35  
Old 09-30-2016, 10:56 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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For me the defunct profession is "Flight Engineer". When I started in the industry in the late '80s there were probably 10,000 flight engineers working in the US. Now it's closer to a couple hundred. I bet it'll be zero in another 5-ish years.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 09-30-2016 at 10:58 AM.
  #36  
Old 09-30-2016, 11:15 AM
MrAtoz MrAtoz is online now
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Remember the episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel go to work in the chocolate factory? Of course you do, everybody does!

Well, one of the jobs that the guy from the employment agency offers them before he sends them to the chocolate factory is "comptometer operator." A comptometer was a mechanical calculator, sort of an early adding machine. Between computers and electronic calculators, I'm betting there aren't any comptometer operators around anymore.

Another job he offers them is "PBX operator." I don't know, are there still PBX systems anywhere?
  #37  
Old 09-30-2016, 11:26 AM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
There are still a few of these around, for niche/artisanal markets or at historic sites, but as professions they're largely obsolete:

blacksmith
groom (cared for horses)
cooper (barrelmaker)
teamster (in the original sense - one who drove teams of horses)
muleskinner (ditto, but for mules)
My favorite is switchboard operator. As someone mentioned above, there are still coopers who make barrels the old way, mainly for whisky making. I saw it on (IIRC) Discovery or History Channel when they were talking about making whisky and showed some guys actually making the barrels and how they char them.
  #38  
Old 09-30-2016, 11:32 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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Another job he offers them is "PBX operator." I don't know, are there still PBX systems anywhere?
Apparently there are, because a quick google search finds a bunch of jobs being offered on monster and other job sites. Also, the average pay for a PBX operator in 2016 is apparently about $11 an hour.
  #39  
Old 09-30-2016, 11:37 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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...
Another job he offers them is "PBX operator." I don't know, are there still PBX systems anywhere?
What do you suppose is the function of every receptionist at every hotel and large corporate office in the land? That person has a fancy phone and distributes incoming calls on a shared main number to the appropriate extensions. Functionally speaking that's a PBX even if it doesn't have those pre-1960s plugs and wires.

Even systems with auto-attendants ("press 1 for accounting, 2 for reservations, 3 for the dining room, ...") still have a person backstopping the whole thing (" ..., or press 0 or stay on the line to speak to an operator.").

That person is, by definition, a PBX operator.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 09-30-2016 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 09-30-2016, 11:51 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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What do you suppose is the function of every receptionist at every hotel and large corporate office in the land? That person has a fancy phone and distributes incoming calls on a shared main number to the appropriate extensions. Functionally speaking that's a PBX even if it doesn't have those pre-1960s plugs and wires.
When I worked for Bell Labs in Denver in the early 80s, it was usually called the "PBX Lab", although I believe the official designation was "Business Communications". The computer based system we were developing at that time was usually referred to as the "Dimension 85 PBX" ("Antelope" was the internal code name for the project). BTW, we referred to the operators on such systems as "attendants".
  #41  
Old 09-30-2016, 12:11 PM
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I once had a job as an IBM Proof Machine Operator, as did hundreds of workers in large downtown banks. I doubt if that exists anymore.

A Proof Machine was how all checks were sorted at all banks before the printed coding was implemented. An operator read the check, entered the amount on a keyboard with the right hand, then fed the check into a slot with the left hand after punching one of 32 buttons that controlled the sorting mechanism. The check was whisked into one of the 32 pockets in a drum mechanism and 32 printing adding machines in the rear kept tabs on the dollar contents of each, plus one for the running grand total.

This machine was the only one at the time that could handle any piece of paper of the rough size and shape of a check, and didn't require the standard IBM punch cards.

In the bank where I worked, I developed a routine (which involved programming the machine's plugboard) to handle loan payments. What took an assistant auditor most of the day I was able to do in about an hour. The auditor was overjoyed, but my boss didn't like it much -- she was afraid I'd screw up the machine, as no one had ever reprogrammed it before and she didn't know what those wires and plugs did.

Last edited by Musicat; 09-30-2016 at 12:16 PM.
  #42  
Old 09-30-2016, 12:25 PM
MrAtoz MrAtoz is online now
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Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
What do you suppose is the function of every receptionist at every hotel and large corporate office in the land? That person has a fancy phone and distributes incoming calls on a shared main number to the appropriate extensions. Functionally speaking that's a PBX even if it doesn't have those pre-1960s plugs and wires.

Even systems with auto-attendants ("press 1 for accounting, 2 for reservations, 3 for the dining room, ...") still have a person backstopping the whole thing (" ..., or press 0 or stay on the line to speak to an operator.").

That person is, by definition, a PBX operator.
I see. Thanks for the explanation.

I knew receptionists and administrative assistants have snazzy phones with multiple lines to receive and dispatch calls, of course (the administrative assistant in our department has one on her desk!). I didn't know whether they still use the term "PBX" for that kind of thing.
  #43  
Old 09-30-2016, 12:30 PM
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There was an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s where a character was looking through want ads in the newspaper and noticing a lot of ads for "keypunch operators". She said she didn't even know what a keypunch operator was. (I was studying computer science in college at the time and was intimately familiar with keypunch machines.) That is a profession that is undoubtedly defunct now, although "data entry" is similar.

--Mark
  #44  
Old 09-30-2016, 12:33 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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You may find this index helpful:

http://www.census1891.com/occupations-s.php

It lists a "rag cutter" (cuts up rags for papermaking), but no "rag smasher".

My favorite (defunct) job title: "Slubber Doffer". Someone who removes bobbins from spindles in a mill.

Many "defunct" jobs still exist as artisanal curiosities (hell, there are folks out there making medieval swords for sale), but I'm guessing that this sort of industrial-type occupation is indeed "defunct".
Great cite.

Similar lists, although without governmental authority, exist for Renaissance and Medieval periods. I'll scrounge around.
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Old 09-30-2016, 12:38 PM
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I wonder if the job of Diesel Fitter still exists? I think they were employed in pantyhose factories.
  #46  
Old 09-30-2016, 01:03 PM
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Coopers are hardly obsolete. With the world-wide boom in whisk(e)y production, the occupation is in greater demand today than it has been in a century.
Lots of barrels are also made for the winemaking industry as well. Granted, barrels were much more in demand say... 100-150 years ago, but being a cooper is still a going profession, unlike some of the others that date from those days.
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Old 09-30-2016, 01:14 PM
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I once had a job as an IBM Proof Machine Operator, as did hundreds of workers in large downtown banks. I doubt if that exists anymore.
...
In the bank where I worked, I developed a routine (which involved programming the machine's plugboard) to handle loan payments. What took an assistant auditor most of the day I was able to do in about an hour. The auditor was overjoyed, but my boss didn't like it much -- she was afraid I'd screw up the machine, as no one had ever reprogrammed it before and she didn't know what those wires and plugs did.
My Mom was something close to a proof machine operator for the original BofA in the early 1950s.

My first "IT" job included maintaining the plug boards and operating the last few IBM offline tab machine dinosaurs my employer still had. Tried my hand at creating a few plugboard programs from scratch; it wasn't easy. A couple years later the last real tab machine had gone the scrapyard.

We still had lots of programs, JCL, and even a few datasets on cards so we kept a non-programmable 12-pocket card sorter to reindex the database after the occasional but inevitable dropped deck.

About 5 years later TSO, IPSF, IMS, CICS, et al, had eliminated the last physical punched card and the sorter followed its old stablemates into the scrapyard. All 3000 pounds of it. Those things were built like a 1951 John Deere.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 09-30-2016 at 01:16 PM.
  #48  
Old 09-30-2016, 01:23 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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I think to be truly "defunct" a profession must meet some criteria. It is actually surprisingly difficult to think up a profession no-one still does, somewhere.

1. It has to be something no longer useful, because the good or service is either no longer used, or done cheaper and better some other way.

2. That isn't enough, because there are whole categories of goods which are no longer used, but are collector's items or have some specialist interest. No one "needs" a medieval broadsword, but forging them is nonetheless an existing occupation.

3. Also, even if the good or service can be performed some cheaper way, there are whole categories of activities people do anyway, because it is fun, or because handmade has qualities superior to machine-made (so, lots of potters still exist, both as hobbyists and because there is still a market for hand-made pottery, even though machines can stamp out pots very cheaply).

4. Also, there cannot be a lot of interest in knowing how it was done. There are still people who specialize in such archaic skills as flint-knapping, just to learn more about ancient flint-knappers.

5. Thus, a good candidate for truly "defunct" professions are industrial occupations, in which laborious, dirty and/or dangerous activities have long been replaced with improvements to machinery - assuming the occupations don't still exist somewhere like North Korea.
  #49  
Old 09-30-2016, 01:36 PM
yabob yabob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malthus View Post
I think to be truly "defunct" a profession must meet some criteria. It is actually surprisingly difficult to think up a profession no-one still does, somewhere.

1. It has to be something no longer useful, because the good or service is either no longer used, or done cheaper and better some other way.

2. That isn't enough, because there are whole categories of goods which are no longer used, but are collector's items or have some specialist interest. No one "needs" a medieval broadsword, but forging them is nonetheless an existing occupation.

3. Also, even if the good or service can be performed some cheaper way, there are whole categories of activities people do anyway, because it is fun, or because handmade has qualities superior to machine-made (so, lots of potters still exist, both as hobbyists and because there is still a market for hand-made pottery, even though machines can stamp out pots very cheaply).

4. Also, there cannot be a lot of interest in knowing how it was done. There are still people who specialize in such archaic skills as flint-knapping, just to learn more about ancient flint-knappers.

5. Thus, a good candidate for truly "defunct" professions are industrial occupations, in which laborious, dirty and/or dangerous activities have long been replaced with improvements to machinery - assuming the occupations don't still exist somewhere like North Korea.
Will you take my "steel puddlers"?
  #50  
Old 09-30-2016, 01:40 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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@malthus: We had a similar thread not long ago about the idea of ancient process knowledge that's supposedly been lost. We eventually got around to the conclusion that damn near nothing that humanity has ever learned how to do has been truly forgotten. For the reasons you enumerate.

Somebody somewhere today knows how to knap a flint, tie it to a stick with grass & bark, and has killed a large herbivore using just such a self-made tool. And cooked and eaten part of the critter after starting a fire using makeshift found objects.


@yabob: A link or some explanation would help. So far all we you've given us is two generic nouns side by side.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 09-30-2016 at 01:42 PM.
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