Unusual Careers You Never Knew Existed

By Jack Ripley | January 11, 2024

Taking in Samples, Odor Judges Were Crucial in the Development of Everything From Perfumes to Foot Sprays

Step into the past with this captivating selection of historical images, each one a portal to a long-forgotten profession. The following depictions don't simply document a list of archaic careers. The images, rather, form an impressive mosaic of human endeavor, resilience, and creativity. The following laborers from the past, with their unconventional roles, were once integral to the fabric of daily life.

Presented in a series of fascinating images, these occupations introduce a truly unique segment of history's forgotten workforce. Continue reading to learn more about the legacy of these unusual historical occupations.


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The photograph showcases an intriguing scene of scientific scrutiny—the odor judge, ensconced in a sterile environment, with nostrils flaring in concentration. This specialized connoisseur of scent is shown mid-sniff as a critical actor in the olfactory ballet that shapes consumer products. Their sensitive noses detected subtle undertones and overt notes that define everything from luxury perfumes to foot sprays. With a battery of bottles and test strips at their disposal, the odor judge's evaluations informed several key formulations that could either delight or deter the public nose. This career, though less heralded than those of the perfumers or chemists, represented a linchpin in quality control—a human instrument calibrated to the nuances of smell.

Lamplighters Would Ignite the Gas Street Lights at Dusk, Safely Illuminating the Neighborhood Streets

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In the soft glow of twilight, the lamplighter would begin his procession, igniting the gas street lamps that lined the cobblestoned streets of yore. A mainstay of the Victorian era, the lamplighter's role was vital, providing safety and guidance for nocturnal travelers and those venturing home after a long day's work. Each evening, lamplighters ventured out to ignite the lamps one by one, climbing their ladders with practiced ease. Their presence reassured city residents that despite the encroaching darkness, there would always be a trail of warm light to lead them through the dark evening.