Ice cutter. Back before mechanical refrigerators, people kept their food cold with ice. During the winter here, ice was cut from the Delaware River and local lakes. It was then stored in icehouses …
Ice cutter. Back before mechanical refrigerators, people kept their food cold with ice. During the winter here, ice was cut from the Delaware River and local lakes. It was then stored in icehouses under sawdust to preserve it through the summer.
Shirt collar manufacturer. Troy, NY was “Collar City.” This was back in the day, when collars were removable—so they could be washed and starched—and you could replace them easily if need be. The collars were attached with collar studs. By the 20th century, 15,000 people worked in the shirt-collar industry just in Troy.
Fire tower fire spotter. Red Hill, near Claryville, employed the last tower spotter in the Catskills until 1990.
Film developer. Once upon a time we took our little rolls of film to a developer, and then picked up our photos a day to a week later.
Typewriter repairman. When the keys stuck, it was time to take the typewriter to the shop. “The keys never stick now,” said one former owner of a typewriter. “It is never time to go to the typewriter repairman.”
Milkman. In the days before reliable refrigerators, milk was delivered once a day or so. “Daily milk delivery was necessary to prevent the milk from spoiling before people could drink it,” writes the Dairy Alliance. “It was the safest and most cost-effective way to get milk and other perishables to customers.”
Newsboys. According to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, they were often homeless boys trying to make a little money. Newspapers began using them in the mid-19th century, as mass-circulation newspapers took off. The newsboys went on strike in 1899, and conditions started to improve after that.
Telegraph employees. The telegraph was the only method of long-distance communication from the 1840s to the 20th century. By 1940, notes history.com, there were 40 telegraph lines across the Atlantic. Telegrams were the messages you sent over a telegraph, word-tight to save money. They’d be delivered to the recipient by a telegram service.
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