20 Outdated Occupations That Have Bitten the Dust

Switchboard operator

“Operator, please connect this call” was a frequently uttered phrase back when phone companies had manual switchboards. The operators, who were mostly women, inserted a phone plug into the relevant jack to connect a call.

Automated switchboards were widely adopted from the 1960s onwards, and by the 1980s the profession had all but vanished.

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  1. Jane L Polley says

    And aren’t we thankful that these occupations are no longer needed !!

  2. Benjamin H. Campbell says

    One of the biggest trades of all – Type setters, linotype operators, and many that composed a newspaper operation when hot type needed to be cast to form the copy. In addition, thousands upon thousands of little mom and pop job shops to produce letterheads, etc. There were literally millions employed in the newspaper printing industry and the job shops that are no longer needed. At it’s peak the Birmingham News where I worked as a type setter for many years needed at least 300 workers daily in the composing room. When lithography came to the industry, the paper could be produced with only about 15 workers.

  3. Janet says

    Thank you for putting this piece together. I had heard of some of these occupations but having the pictures along with the information was quite charming and informative!

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