In the modern age, there are a dizzying variety of occupations. While modern technology and progress have either taking over many of the menial jobs or made them obsolete, there are always new occupations being created. One job dies, another crops up. The unfortunate aspect of modernity is that many occupations have driven a wedge between people.
Often the customer is hundreds or thousands of miles away at the end of a phone call or e-mail. Or the business is so large and based on volume that even a frequent customer is never really more than a face with no name. Of course, there are jobs where the old world relationship exists, but it’s increasingly rare. In the “olden days” as my daughter would say when she was younger, it was pretty common to be on a first-name basis with a proprietor. To walk into a store and have half your needs known before you’ve reached the counter was the norm.
Because of this intimacy, things could be purchased “on the cuff” or placed on the tab or even bartered for. It was a romantic era, to say the least, but unpractical in this day and age in any community of modest size or larger.
In this article, I will showcase a number of occupations from yesteryear that have been almost forgotten. Some have altogether disappeared. There may be some that exist in remote parts of the world in some small village or hamlet. In some cases, they exist because the city wishes to retain its history, London for example. Some have been replaced with a modern equivalent. Others have been entirely replaced by a machine or robot. Some of you may be old enough to have childhood memories of some of these occupations, and by all means please share them. These romantic occupations were executed by unsung heroes. Nameless people that served the community, helped it progress and make the city of New Bedford what it is today, a city of almost 100,000.
As always, the images are culled from the generosity of the the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Spinner Publications. Without their kindness, these articles would be dry, boring texts. They breathe life into the articles and do a much better job helping with visualization than any cleverly designed assemblage of words into a sentence could. Please consider them for patronage. In addition, these articles are made possible through sponsorship. If you would like to help to continue to shine light on the region’s local history and enjoy articles like this, please consider sponsoring an article by contacting us at: NBGarts@gmail.com. We will gladly research and write an article on your family’s history, home, place of business or unrelated topic. Not only do you get the visual advertising benefits of sponsorship, but you are contributing to the arts and improving culture and society no matter how slight.