OLD TIME OCCUPATIONS & PROFESSIONS
ACCOMPTANT An accountant.
ACCOUCHER A midwife.
ACTUARY An accountant or public business account keeper.
ALCHEMIST A chemist.
APOTHECARY A pharmacist who prepared and sold medicines and drugs.
APPRIENTICE A trainee who is bound to a skilled master for a specified period of time to learn the trade.
ARTIFICER A military mechanic who does repairs.
ARTISIAN One who is employed in any of the industrial arts such as a handicraftsman, mechanic.
ASSAYER Person who determined the proportions of minerals in ore.
AURIFABER A goldsmith
BAGMAN A travelling salesman.
BAILIE A bailiff.
BALER A person who baled wool or cotton goods.
BAXTER A baker.
BEETLERAN A person operating a bettling machine which embossed textiles.
BINDER A person who bound books.
BLACKSMITH A person who worked iron with a forge and hammer.
BOARDMAN A truant officer checking school attendance.
BOARDWRIGHT A carpenter who made tables and chairs.
BOATMAN A person working on the river or a boat repairman.
BOATSWAIN Petty officer in charge of the ship's crew, rigging and deck maintenance.
BOBBIN CARRIER Person who supplied spinning and weaving looms with bobbins.
BOBBIN LIGGER Person who placed spools for spinning.
BOBBIN TURNER Person who made wooden bobbins used in textile mills.
BOILERMAKER An industrial metalworker.
BOILER PLATER A person who made rolled steel or iron place for steam engine boilers.
BONE LACE MAKER A person who made pillow lace.
BONE PICKER Originally a person who collected rags and bones; later any discarded items.
BOOK GILDER A person who gilded book bindings with gold leaf.
BONIFACE An innkeeper.
BOOKMAN A student.
BOOTBINDER A person who operated machines in shoemaking, binding uppers to soles.
BOOT CLOSER A person who stitched shoe uppers to the soles.
BORLER or BORELER The maker of borel, a cheap coarse woollen cloth.
BOTCHER A tailor or a cobbler.
BOTTLE BOY A pharmacist's assistant.
BOTTOMER Carpenter who finished the rough shape in wooden chairmaking.
BRAIDER A person who made cord by twisting cords or leather.
BRAILLER A person who made girdles.
BRAKEMAN or BRAKESMAN Person who operated the brakes on trains or trams.
BRASILER A person who dyed material and fabrics.
BRAIZER A person who worked with brass.
BREAKMAN or BRICKMAN A bricklayer.
BREECH MAKER The maker of breeches for guns.
BREWSTER A brewer.
BRICKSETTER The person who stacked or set bricks for firing in the kiln.
BRIDGEMAN or BRIDGER Toll bridge keeper.
BRIGHTSMITH A metal worker.
BRIMSTONE REFINER A person who refined sulphur, one of the components of gunpowder.
BUCKLER A person who made belt buckles.
BUCKRAM MAKER A person who made buckram used for stiffening lapels, collars, etc.
BUCKWASHER A laundress.
BULLWHACKER An oxen driver.
BONE PICKER A person who gathered rags, bones, and other discarded items.
BURGONMASTER A mayor.
BUTTER CARVER Person who prepared butter for sale.
CANNALLER A canal boat worker.
CANDLER A person who made candles; person who candled eggs.
CANER Maker of woven cane chair seats.
CAPITALIST Investor who provides capital for commerce & or industry.
CARDER A person who combs (cards) wool or cotton.
CARTER A person who transports goods by wagon.
CARTOGRAPHER A mapmaker.
CARTOMANCER A fortune teller who uses cards.
CHAISEMAKER A carriage maker.
CHARWOMAN A woman hired by the day to do odd jobs, usually cleaning.
CHIFFONNIER A wig maker.
CHIMNEY SWEEP A person who cleans chimneys.
CLOD HOPPER A ploughsman.
COACHSTAND WATERMAN A person who watered horses and tended to them in in the absence of the drivers.
COBBLER A shoemaker and reparier.
COLLIER A coal mine worker.
COOPER Maker of wooden staves, hoops, casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
CORDWAINER A shoemaker.
COXWAIN The helmsman of a ship or a boat.
CROCKER A potter who made crockery.
CURRIER A stablehand who attended to the grooming of the horses; a leather tanner.
DAGUERREOTYPE ARTIST Early photographer.
DEATHSMAN An executioner.
DELVER A ditch digger; a stone quarry worker.
DENTAL MECHANIC Skilled laborer who made false teeth.
DOCKER A stevedore, dock worker who loads and unloads cargo.
DORCAS A seamstress.
DOWSER or DIVINER A person who finds water using a rod or witching stick.
DRAGOON A cavalryman.
DRAPER A dealer of fabrics and sewing goods.
DRAYMAN or DRAYSMAN A person who drove long strong carts without fixed sides to transport heavy loads and cargo.
DRILLMAN Agricultural worker who operated a seed drill.
DRPVER A person who drove farm animals to market; a dealer in cattle.
DRUGGER A pharmacist.
DUFFER A peddler of cheap goods.
EGGLER An egg and/or poultry dealer.
ENUMERATOR A person who collected and recorded census data from households.
ERITE A heretic.
EREMITE A hermit.
EWEHERD A shepherd.
EXCISEMAN A tax collector.
EXPRESSMAN A messenger who collected & delivered letters or parcels requiring quick service.
FABER A workman or artisan.
FACTOR An agent or commission merchant who transacts business or another.
FAKER A photographer's assistant who hand-colored monochromatic photographs.
FANNER A person who winnowed grain.
FANWRIGHT A person who made or repaired fans or winnowing baskets.
FARRIER A blacksmith who shoed horses; horse doctor; cavalry NCO in charge of horses.
FEATHER BEATER/DRIVER/DRESSER A person who cleaned feathers for sale.
FEATHERMAN A person who sold feathers.
FELLER A wood cutter.
FELTER A person who worked with felt, usually in the hat trade.
FEWSTER A personwho made wooden saddle trees, the "skeleton" of a leather saddle.
FITTER 1) A coal broker. 2) A skilled mechanic.
FLAGGER A person who laid paving stones.
FLATMAN Boatman working on a flat-bottom boat, mainly in rivers and canals.
FLASHER A specialist glassmaker.
FLAUNER A confectioner.
FLESHEWER A butcher.
FLETCHER The maker of arrows.
FLUSHERMAN A person who cleaned out water pipes, gutters, etc.
FORGEMAN or FORGER A blacksmith or his assistant.
FORM FITTER A person who made fitted forms for building, in particular archwork.
FOSSETMAKER A person who made wooden taps for casks.
FOUNDER A foundryman who casted metal.
FREEDMAN A freed slave.
FREEHOLDER A land owner.
FREEMAN A man who had served his apprenticeship and could work at his trade on his own.
FREEMASON A stone mason.
GABELER A tax collector.
GAFFER A foreman; and elderly man.
GAOLER The keeper of a gaol; a jailer.
GAUNTER A glove maker.
GENTRY Families of hereditary rank, baronets and knights of England.
GEOMETER A person skilled in geometry.
GLAZIER A window glassman.
GRAFFER A notary or scrivener.
GRANGER A farmer.
GROOVER A miner.
HABERDASHER The seller of clothing.
HACKER 1) A woodcutter. 2) The maker of hoes or other cutting tools.
HACKNEY MAN Driver of horse-drawn cab. Taxis were orginally called hackney cabs.
HAWKER or HUCKSTER A peddler or street vender.
HAYMONGER A dealer of hay.
HILLIER A roof tiler.
HODSMAN A manson's assistant who carried the hod in which materials were carried.
HOOPER or HOOP SHAVER A person who made hoops for casks and barrels.
HORSE KNAVE A groomsman.
HOSIER Retailer of hosiery such as socks, stockings, and gloves.
HOSTELLER or HOSTELIER An innkeeper.
HOSTLER 1) A stablehand or groom. 2) Person who repaired railroad engines.
HOTPRESSER A person who worked in textile or paper mills, pressing product to smooth and glaze it.
HUCKSTER A street merchant or retailer of small wares from a shop or a booth.
HUSBANDMAN Tenant farmer or a sheperd.
ICEMAN An ice seller who usually made house deliveries.
INDENTURED SERVANT A person who committed for a set number of years to pay off a financial obligation such as ship passage to America.
INTELLIGENCER A spy.
INTERFACTOR A murderer.
IRONSMITH A blacksmith.
IRONMONGER A hardware merchant.
IRONMASTER An owner of a foundry; manager of a foundry.
JACK 1) A sailor. 2) A young male assistant.
JOBBER 1) A dealer in goods. 2) A pieceworker.
JOINER or JOYNER A skilled carpenter.
JOURNEYMAN A tradesman who has served his apprenticeship and mastered his craft but not bound to serve a master.
KELLER A bargeman.
KEMPSTER A wool comber.
KILNER A person in charge of a kiln; a limeburner.
KNOLLER A bell toller.
LAMPLIGHTER A person who usually was employed by the town to light gas street lamps.
LANDWAITER or LANDING WAITER A customs official who oversaw landed goods from ships.
LARDNER A person who was the "keeper of the cupboard."
LASTER A shoe maker.
LATH RENDER A person who rends and splits wood to form laths.
LATTENER or LATTENSMITH A brass worker.
LAVENDER A washerwoman.
LEDERER A leather maker.
LEECH A physician.
LITTERMAN A horse groom.
LOBLOLLY BOY 1) Ship surgeon's assistant. 2) Errand boy.
LOCK KEPPER A person who maintains and operates canal locks.
LONGSHOREMAN A stevedore.
LOOPER A person who operated a looping machine which closed the opening in the toe of hoisery.
MALENDER A farmer.
MANGLER A person who operated a mangle which wrung water out of washing.
MASON A stone cutter or dresser; a bricklayer.
MASTER The highest grade of skilled tradesmen, often owner of his own business.
MAWER or MATHER A mower.
MEALMAN Dealer of meal or flour.
MECHANIC 1) Machine operator who was less skilled than an engineer. 2) A Journeyman.
MERCATOR A merchant.
MERCER A cloth dealer.
MILLER A person who ran a grain or saw mill.
MILLINER A person who made and sold ladies' hats.
MILLWRIGHT A person who designed, built, and maintained mills and milling machinery.
MILNER A mill laborer.
MONGER A person who sold goods and merchandise.
MOULDER A person who made moulds for castings, brickmaking, etc.
MULESKINNER A teamster; driver.
MULETEER A mule driver.
NAYLOR A person who made iron nails by hand.
NEATHERD or NEATHERDER A cow herder.
NECESSARY WOMAN Female servant who emptied and cleaned chamber pots.
NEDELLER A person who made needles.
NIGHT SOILMAN A person who emptied cesspits, ashpits and outside toilets, usually from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
NOTERER A notary.
NURSE CHILD A child being looked after by another family for payment.
OCCUPIER A tradesman.
OILMAN Seller of lamp oil.
OIL MILLER Person who milled seed to extract oils such as linseed, cottonseed, etc.
OSTIARY Doorkeeper at a monastery.
OSTLER or HOSTLER Originally an innkeeper; later stablehand who looked after visitors' horses.
OUT CRIER An auctioneer.
OVERLOOKER An overseer or foreman.
OVERMAN A colliery supervisor who check on the workers and coal quality.
PALISTER A park keeper.
PANTLER A butler.
PARGETER A craftsman who applied pargetting (ornamental plaster) to buildings.
PETTIFOGGER A shyster lawyer.
PHRENOLOGIST A person who "read" bumps on the head for character assessment.
PIECE BROKER Dealer of fabric remnants.
PITMAN A coal miner.
PLOUGHWRIGHT A person who either made or repaired plows.
POLEMAN A surveyor's assistant.
PORTER 1) Door or gate keeper. 2) Person who carried baggage in stations or other public places.
PROTHONARY A law clerk.
PUBLICAN An innkeeper.
PUDDLER A wrought iron worker.
RAG PICKER A person who sorted useable items from rag collection.
RACKER A street cleaner.
RODMAN Surveyor's assistant who held the rod for the surveyor's theodolite observation.
SADDLER A person who made, repaired, and sold saddles and tack for horses.
SAWBONES A physician.
SAWYER A worker in a saw mill.
SCRIBE A clerk; a writer.
SCRIVENER A notary public or professional writer or copyist.
SCULLERY MAID Female servant assigned to perform menial tasks.
SCULLION Male servant assigned to perform menial tasks.
SEXTON A church caretaker who sometimes dug graves or rang the church bells.
SHANTYMAN A woodman or a lumberman.
SHARECROPPER A tenant farmer who received a fixed portion of the crop as pay.
SHIP'S HUSBAND A person who supplied the stores and maintained ships in dock.
SHIP'S MASTER The captain of a ship; often the owner of the ship.
SHIPWRIGHT A person who built and repaired ships.
SHOESMITH A cobbler.
SHOT FIRER A person who fired the blast in quarries.
SHRIEVE or SHRIEVER A sheriff.
SLATER A roofer.
SLAYMAKER A person who made reeds (slays) used in weaving.
SOAPER or SOPER or SOAP BOILER A person who made soap.
SPURRER or SPURRIER A person who made spurs.
SQUIRE or ESQUIRE 1) Country landed gentleman. 2) Magistrate or justice of the
peace. 3) A professional man.
STABLER A person who attended to horses.
STATIONARY ENGINEER Person who operated steam engines, usually in a factory setting.
STAYMAKER A person who made corsets.
STEAM HAMMER DRIVER Person who operated large steam-operated hammer to forge iron and steel.
STEEPLEJACK Person who works on steeples, chimneys, flagpoles, etc.
STEERSMAN A ship's helmsman.
STOKER A person who tended and fed coal to boilers.
STONE DRESSER A person who prepared quarried stone for building, cutting it to blocks with a reasonably even surface.
STONE PICKER A person who removed stones from fields prior to planting a crop.
STOVER or STEVER or STAVER Senior member of a partnership of miners & in charge at the surface.
STOWYER The person who stowed nets on fishing boats.
STRIKER or STRYKER A blacksmith's assistant.
SUMPTER A porter.
SUTLER A merchant or peddler in an army camp.
SWAILER A miller or a grain dealer.
SWAIN A herdsman.
SWINGLER A person who beat flax which removed the coarse portions.
TAVERNER An innkeeper.
TEAMSTER Driver of a team of horses or mules.
THRESHER Person who operated machinery which separated chaff from grain.
TILLER A farmer.
TILLMAN A ploughman.
TINCTOR A person who dyed fabric or cloth.
TINKER A tin pot and pan salesman.
TINNER A tin miner or tinsmith.
TINTER Artists who tinted monochromatic photographs before color was available.
TOBACCO SPINNER A person who made cigars.
TOP SAWYER Upper man in a sawpit using a long two-man saw.
TRIMMER 1) A ship's crewman who trimmed coal. 2) Dockworker who trimmed bulk cargo in the ship's hold to spread it out evenly.
TROUNCER A drayman's assistant.
TURNCOCK Employee of local water company who opened & closed off the water supply.
TURNKEY A jailer.
TYRESMITH A blacksmith who specialized in making iron bands around wooden cart wheels.
VALET A gentleman's personal male servant.
VALUATOR A valuer.
VAMPER The person who made the upper part of a boot or shoe which covered the instep.
VASSAL The lowest order of servant.
VINTAGER A graper grower or wine maker.
VINTER or VINTNER A wine merchant.
VULCAN A blacksmith.
WAGGONER The driver of a wagon or 4-wheeled cart.
WAINWRIGHT A person who made or repaired wagons "wains."
WAKEMAN or WAIT A night watchman.
WARDER A jailer.
WAY MAKER A road builder.
WAY MAN A road surveyor.
WHACKER Horse or ox team driver.
WHEEL TAPPER A railroad worker who tapped wheels to detect cracks.
WHEELER A person who made wheels or a spinning wheel attendant.
WHEELWRIGHT A person who made or repaired wheels, wheeled vehicles.
WHIPPING BOY Servant who was whipped in place of royal miscreants.
WHITE LIMER Plasterer who used lime.
YARDMAN Worker in railroad engine yards.
YEOMAN Farmer who owns his own land; Naval petty officer in charge of ship's stores.
Submitted by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2008