Dictionary of Old Occupations

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Definitions of jobs Oakum Worker - Oyster Hawker

Oakum Worker: recycled old ropes for hemp fibre, which was driven into gaps between planks of wood in boats, in order to make boats waterproof.

Odd Man: generic term for a Labourer.

Oil Colour Man: manufactured paint, responsible for mixing the required colouring.

Oil Miller: extracted oil from seeds. Some seed, such as linseed and rapeseed were grown in England, other seeds were imported.

Oiler: a person responsible for keeping machinery lubricated. May have worked on factory machinery, or with engines.

Oilman: a tradesman who sold oil for use in lamp lighting.

Olitor: a gardener who maintained the kitchen garden, or potager. The kitchen garden was used to grow food for domestic consumption.

Oliver Smith: a smith who used an oliver hammer. Similar to a treadle hammer, the oliver hammer was a foot operated mechanical device for hammering metal.

Onsetter: attached full corves (tubs) or detached empty corves at the bottom of a coal mine shaft, or who transferred corves into and out of cages at stopping places within a coal mine.

Orderly: assists medical staff in a hospital, or the servant of a military officer.

Ordinary Keeper: an innkeeper.

Ordinary Seaman: an 18th century rank in the Royal Navy with one to two years experience.

Orrery Maker: An orrery is a mechanical device showing the positions and orbits of planets and moons in the solar system. The earliest known example dates back 2000 years or more to the Greek Antikythera. The Orrery Maker produced these interesting items. An expansion to the video game Oblivion famously featured an orrery.

Orrice Weaver: wove / embroidered orrice, which was a type of golden lace popular in the 18th century.

Osier Peeler: peeled bark from willow, which could then used for making goods such as woven baskets. Osier means willow, withy is a willow stem. English thatched cottages are made from withy. Withy is also used in gardening. The term withy can refer to any flexible rod used in rural crafts.

Osler: caught birds.

Osnard: derived from ox-herd; a 'shepherd of oxen'.

Ostiary: a monk who kept the monastery door.

Ostler: the original and more common meaning is the person who tended horses at an inn. This definition dates back to the 12th century. Occasionally Ostler / Hostler means the innkeeper himself. The word Ostler is still in use today, referring to a stable groom who cares for horses.

Out Crier: a Herald, Crier, or auctioneer.

Outdoor Worker: a Labourer working the land. I often come across this term when searching census records.

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

Outrider: a mounted escort accompanying a carriage or group on a journey.

Outworker: in the textile industry, weavers working from home were called outworkers. They were paid for piece-work for the goods they produced. The term outworker can also refer to any home based worker.

Overlooker: another textile industry term, the overlooker supervised work in a textile mill.

Overman: performed quality control in a coal mine, and supervised the miners.

Overseer: a generic term for a supervisor.

Owler: smuggled wool or sheep from England to France. The practice of owling was illegal in England in order to protect the English textile industry. England had a good supply of wool and sheep, but its textile industry relied upon protectionist law because it could not compete with foreign imports.

Oyster Dredger: fishing industry term for a man working on an oyster boat.

Oyster Hawker: an 18th or 19th century equivalent of a kebab van, the oyster hawker sold pickled lobsters in public places.

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.

Smuggling in the British Isles: A History by Richard Platt

Documenting every aspect of the smuggling industry, from the practical problems of stowing contraband and getting it to its final destination to the legendary hiding places and caves used to conceal goods until their sale, this compelling book will intrigue all those with an interest in the sea and its history, and shows how a small-scale trade that enjoyed widespread popular support grew into a vast and violent industry.