Coopers, wheelwrights, and salaeratus makers: Those jobs might sound foreign to us today, but they were all common enough back in 1850 to merit a mention on Bureau of Labor Statistics’ first occupational classification list. Today, there’s not much demand for people who can make barrels, wooden wheels, or baking soda. But in the 19th century, there was a real need for workers with these skills.
The obsolete jobs of 100 or 200 years ago might seem bizarre to us now, but there’s a good chance your career could seem similarly weird to your grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Technological change and economic shifts gradually make certain occupations obsolete. Don’t believe us? Check out this list of threatened jobs. Some of these careers have already disappeared, while others are destined for the history books. Here are 15 jobs no one will remember in 20 years.
1. Video store clerks
The rise of the video store was swift, and its downfall came nearly as fast. In 1989, a few years after VCRs became affordable to many Americans, there were 30,000 video rental stores in the U.S. By 2014, there were 6,000. As the number of video stores shrinks, so does the number of jobs for clerks. In 1999, at the industry’s peak, there were nearly 170,000 video store employees. By 2016, there were just 12,500. Before long, most Americans will have no idea what it’s like to have a snobby film student clerk silently judging your Friday night film picks.
Next: Film processors