Dictionary of Old Occupations

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Definitions of jobs Jack - Juveler

Jack: frequently refers to a sailor, or a nickname for anyone called John. Also a general term for a young male servant or a young man working in any occupation. The latter may be a derogatory term similar to knave.

Jack Frame Tenter: worked in a Card Room in the weaving industry. Operated a jack frame machine which twisted threads.

Jack Smith: archaic term for a Smith who fashioned coats of armour out of chain or leather. May also refer to someone who made machinery to replace the work of a Jack - a young man or boy.

Jack Tar: popular term for a sailor. May derive from wearing waterproof clothing made from tarpaulin, or from tarring clothes in order to make them waterproof. A common practice amongst sailors was to wear their hair in a ponytail and coated with tar. May also be recorded as 'jack afloat'.

Jacquard Operator: worked in the weaving industry in charge of a jacquard loom.

Jagger: a Carter (transporting goods) or Pedlar.

Jailor: a guard working in a gaol or jail.

Jakes Farmer: man who emptied the privy.

Jappaner: applied layers of heavy black lacquer to wooden furniture, pottery or ironwork. The result could be polished for decoration. When used with ironwork the result was also rustproof.

Jenny: another alternate spelling of Ginny, worked in the mining industry operating a ginny carriage.

Jerquer: a customs officer who inspected ships for smuggled goods.

Jersey Comber: combed wool to separate the finest yarn from the rest.

Jigger: worked in the pottery industry, shaped the outside of flatware pottery on a revolving mould.

Jigger Turner: a junior job in the pottery industry, rotated jiggers by hand.

Jinny: alternate spelling of Ginny, who worked in the mining industry operating a ginny carriage which was small railway truck used for transporting materials.

Job Coachman: based in a livery or stable, drove coach and horses for the rich and wealthy for the duration of a contract.

Job Master: hired out horse drawn carriages for domestic use.

Job Printer: undertook miscellaneous small printing jobs.

Jobber: a trader who bought goods from wholesalers to sell on to retailers for a profit. Also refers to a Piece Worker. The word 'jobbing' may be prefixed before another occupation which indicates they were being paid for a job of work.

Jobbing Man: an Odd Job Man who undertook many and varied small tasks.

Joiner: a highly skilled carpenter capable of perfectly joining wood together without the use of nails, screws, glue etc. Commonly worked in the construction or furniture making industries..

Jollier: worked in the pottery industry.

Copyright: Jane Hewitt. This dictionary is authorised for use on www.familyresearcher.co.uk only.

Jongleur: a travelling entertainer, such as a folk singer, conjuror or juggler.

Journeyman: a craftsman or trader who has not become a Master, but has completed their apprenticeship. Usually employed by a Master. In older use a journeyman was hired on a daily basis. The term may be suffixed by the name of the occupation they worked in.

Jouster: a woman mounted on horseback, travelling town to town peddling fish.

Jowter: alternate term for a Jouster, archaic term for a Chowder or Fishmonger.

Joyner: alternate spelling of Joiner, a highly skilled carpenter.

Junky: alternate name for a Day Labourer, who worked at a junk yard stripping valuable parts from discarded items, e.g. copper. He then transported these by horse and cart to sell elsewhere. Was paid on a commission basis.

Justiciar: an officer of the King's court, a person who operated their own court of law, or a judge in shire courts.

Juveler: Danish term for a jeweller.

This dictionary is my own work, and copyright Jane Hewitt. I sometimes find unauthorised (i.e. stolen) copies of my website content appearing on other people's websites. If you should read a group of identical glossary definitions elsewhere on the web, consider whether such sites are reputable or not.

Below Stairs - by Margaret Powell

Arriving at the great houses of 1920s London, fifteen-year-old Margaret's life in service was about to begin… As a kitchen maid – the lowest of the low – she entered an entirely new world; one of stoves to be blacked, vegetables to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, and even bootlaces to be ironed. Work started at 5.30am and went on until after dark. It was a far cry from her childhood on the beaches of Hove, where money and food were scarce, but warmth and laughter never were.

Yet from the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids' curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking story of Agnes the pregnant under-parlourmaid, fired for being seduced by her mistress's nephew, Margaret's tales of her time in service are told with wit, warmth, and a sharp eye for the prejudices of her situation.