worked as daguerreotypists or matchmakers once upon a timemight have difficulty finding stable work today, but there are plenty of jobs that have passed the test of time, surviving tidal waves of economic change.
In some ways, consumers have become nostalgic for ways of olde. Just take a look around Brooklyn, N.Y. Its artisanal vibe harkens back to the 19th century, with a culture that supports homegrown, hand-crafted, limited-edition products, as
Benjamin Wallace depicts in New York magazine. Whether it’s 1850 or 2013, this scene shows that there will always be a place for certain niche occupations.
To find the jobs that have survived for more than a century, we combed through the U.S. Census of 1850, which is the first year the government collected data on what Americans do for work. We then compared it to today’s Census list of the Stan
dard Occupational Classifications, which is revised every decade and identifies 31,000 occupations in America.
It turns out, several jobs make the cut. While some have shown predictable stability — dentists, bankers, engineers — some others are more unexpected. Here are 9 surprising jobs that have been around since 1850:
Armorers: In the past, an armorer was someone who made personal armour. Today, it is someone who maintains and repairs small arms and weapons in the military or police force.
Charcoal burners (Median pay in 2012 is $35,530 annually): Someone who makes charcoal
Cotton ginners (Median pay in 2010 is $18,970
annually): An agriculture worker whose job consists of operating machinery and doing physical labour to produce cotton
Cordwainers (Median pay in 2012 is $24,310 annually): A worker who operates and tends machines used in the production of shoeware
Cork cutters (Median pay in 2012 is $31,430 annually): Someone who operates cutting machines to cut roles or slices of materials
Enamellers: An artist who uses enamel paint to make jewelry and other decorative pieces
Gold beaters: Someone who hammers sheets of gold into gold leaf
Map makers (Median pay in 2010 is $37,900 annually): A technician that assists surveyors and cartographers in collecting data and making maps
Riggers (Median pay in 2012 is $42,660 annually): A person that specialises in lifting and moving heavy objects with a crane or derrick
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