This alphabet takes the word retro to a whole new level. If you were alive in 1850, what kind of job do you think you would have? I think I would have been a wax-chandler, a fishmonger or a wharfinger. Nah… I’m not even sure what those are, but apparently they were popular 162 years ago.
There are 59 professions on this list from 1850, and surprisingly, 47 of these careers still exist today. Of course, some of them are very unusual and odd, but they are still around nonetheless. This very charming example of woodcut art is such a fun way to learn about a little history.
You may notice that there were no professions during that time that started with the letter X. According to Ptak Science Books, “There were no “X” professions by name, that would take at least until 1895 and Wilhelm Roentgen, unless you include xylophone players (or makers).” When I checked Wikipedia to see what Wilhelm Roentgen was famous for, I found out that he is the one who stumbled across the discovery of the X-ray. Another interesting tidbit is that since books back then were typically very small, the original of this alphabet was only 5 inches tall. It had three letters on each page. I wish I could have seen that! History can be so much fun. I wonder what a hawker is.