Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Lost Skills and the #Apocalypse


Lost and Old Trades:

Saw an interesting article in Chicago Magazine about the last manual elevator. 

Remember elevator operators? The clang of the doors shutting, the young man dressed in a snappy uniform. It started me thinking of all the other things that have disappeared that we often forget about over time.

Automation and technical/technological advances have influenced how people have lived and worked in every generation. As a result, things/professions/needs disappear like:

1800s: Hand-made lace. Lacemakers went blind working by candlelight. Today it's more a charming hobby and talent than what used to be one of the few jobs where women could make money. How about candlemakers? (not commercial companies.)

1890s -1900s: Industrial revolution: Mills dominated. Cotton mills. Looms. Child labor.

1920s-1930s: Kerosene lamps, Oil lamps. Coal chutes. Leaving a number in the window for the iceman. Horse-drawn wagons. 

1940s-1950s: Remember the scissors sharpener coming around on his cart? Milk delivered in glass bottles. (Which was reinvented again in later decades.)

Other lost trades: 

* Wagon makers. Barrelmakers. Blacksmiths and horseshoers (though these do still exist and are used today.)

* The hatmaker: Taking hats in to be blocked and cleaned. Naptha soap.

* The shoemaker: Remember getting shoes repaired instead of throwing them out?

* The TV and radio repairman. Also car stereo installation.

* Dressmaking and tailor shops - though some can still be found.

* Should I add in American steelworkers and car manufacturers?

I'm sure I've missed quite a few. 

These days most everything is either computerized or mechanized, which offers its own set of  problems. Think computer malfunctions in airports, store system hacks, etc. It affects every aspect of life.

Technology will likely fail or be seriously hampered in some kind of apocalypse. (And you thought I'd never get to the theme of this blog? ha!) The electric grid will fail. Does anyone remember how to read maps - will younger generations even know how to use a compass or how to find their way if lost in the woods? Scary, huh?
--Christine Verstraete

* Anyone got any other trades I may have forgotten?

* Suggested reads:
This time I'm skipping the never-ending apocalypse - dystopian titles. How about something new? 

Apocalyptic and Trade History books: 

 * Lost Car Companies of Detroit

* Lost Skills of the 19th Century - Here's an interesting one. Stuff culled from the pages of past publications. Learn how to build a sod house, dance like the 1850s, hey even vaccinate yourself, and more. 

* The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs: Stuff most of people don't know unless they were in Boy Scouts and forgot from early Girl Scout days. Amazing, what you don't know or thought you knew, isn't it?

* Year One: Chronicles of the One - I admit I haven't read any Nora Roberts, but this sounds pretty interesting and has good reviews. When the description starts: The sickness came on quickly, and spread quickly. Fear spread even faster. That's a hook...

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