Dictionary of Old Occupations

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Definitions of jobs Bicycle Liner - Blowfeeder

Bicycle Liner: painted decorative lines on the side of cycles with a fine brush.

Biddy: used mainly in the US referring to an Irish maid servant.

Bill Poster: person who put up posters in public places advertising goods or services.

Billiard Marker: their duties included keeping score, care of equipment and allocation of billiard tables.

Billier: alternate term for a Billy Man, possibly a slang term for a cruel taskmaster in the 19th century cotton industry.

Billy Man: many, many internet lists clearly define this as a person who operated a machine called a billy roller which prepared cotton for spinning. I have yet to find evidence to back this up, but I did find a 19th century poem by Thomas Moore which mentions that a billy roller was used in the US cotton industry to beat workers, and I also found reference elsewhere to the term billy roller being historical slang for a long stick used to beat workers in 19th century cotton mills when their strength failed. Finally an 1835 source indicated that a Billy Roller is a long wooden rod which was removed from a slubbing frame in order to beat workers. These indicate that the occupation holder was something akin to a slave driver!

Billy Spinner: worked in the textile industry, in charge of machinery and the women and children who operated such machinery in the mill. Subsequent to writing the definition of Billy Man (above) I came across the eBook "Hampden in the nineteenth century; or, Colloquies on the errors and improvement of society" by JM Morgan which makes mention of the occupation Billy-Spinner, describing workers being beaten, sometimes fatally, by the Billy Spinner for making mistakes due to exhaustion. The billy roller is described as being a heavy rod of two to three yards long with an iron pivot at each end.

Binder: a book binder who added the leather binding to books, or a hat binder who applied binding to the hats edges to prevent ravelling.

Bird Boy: employed to frighten birds like a scarecrow.

Bird Catcher: caught birds or wild fowl.

Birds Nest Seller: collected wild birds' nests containing eggs and sold them for brooding by domestic fowl. The resulting chicks were sold as pets.

Birlyman: the Parish Arbiter with the power to settled disputes or ground officer (Scottish).

Biscuit Kiln Man: fires biscuit ware in a kiln. Clay after its first firing is known as biscuit ware. (pottery industry term)

Biscuit Rubber: this person brushed / scoured the biscuit ware to remove loose debris. (pottery industry term)

Black Borderer: applied black varnish to the edges of paper and envelopes. This stationery was then used to inform family and friends of a death.

Black Saddler: short for a black saddle manufacturer, a saddler who specialised in black leather. The occupation dates back to at least the late 19th century. Such saddles were used for carts etc. as opposed to a Brown Saddler who specialised in making saddles for riding.

Black Tray Maker: coated trays with japanning, which was a type of lacquer / varnish.

Blacksmith: produces metal items, such as horse shoes, using a forge, anvil and hammer.

Blackworker: embroidered blackwork. This was a 'counted thread type' of embroidery using black silk on a white background fabric.

Blacking Maker: produced shoe polish commonly made by mixing tallow with lamp black.

Bladesmith: sword maker or Cutler.

Blast Furnace Slagger: responsible for removing slag during the process of smelting iron ore at a blast furnace. The term slag refers to the by-product of the smelting process as impurities are separated from molten metal.

Blaxter: alternate term for a Bleacher, who bleached leather, flour or cloth.

Bleacher: a person who bleached flour or cloth, or a leather bleacher in the shoe making industry.

Blemmere: according to many internet lists this occupational title means a plumber. Have yet to confirm this.

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

Blentonist: - finds underground water or other natural resources by divining or dousing.

Blindsman: - unconfirmed meaning - a postal worker who processed incorrectly addressed mail. Would welcome evidence from anyone with knowledge of Post Office history who can confirm this.

Block Cutter: a person who cut blocks of stone used in the slate industry, or produced wooden blocks used as a base in the hat making industry, or cut patterns for fabric printing into blocks of wood or copper inlaid with felt, or cut letters into wooden blocks for use in the printing Blocker.

Block Maker: carved woodcuts used for woodblock printing..

Block Printer: practiced woodblock printing. This printing technique dates back to 15th century Europe where whole pages are printed from a single block of wood upon which was carved text and images. Woodblock printing itself is an asian practice dating back to the third century and was used to print text onto cloth.

Blocker: alternate term for a Block Cutter.

Bloodletter: practised phlebotomy often using either leeches or a scarificator to let blood as a treatment for many illnesses.

Bloodman: another name for a Bloodletter.

Bloom Smith: worked in a bloom smithy, aka a bloomery or iron smithy, processing iron ore into iron.

Bloomer: alternate term for a Bloom Smith, who processed iron ore.

Blower: a glass worker who blows through a pipe into the centre of molten glass, or someone who pumped bellows to supply the burning coal with oxygen in a smithy.

Blowfeeder: a textile industry worker who inserted fibres into a blowing machine which laundered and separated them.

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.

The Blacksmith's Craft - An Introduction to Smithing for Apprentices and Craftsmen

This early works is a fascinating and comprehensive look at blacksmithing with much of the information still useful and practical today. It was originally published by the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas to meet the needs of craftsmen, technical schools and apprentices' training centres.

The lack of such a book was a handicap to the teaching of the subject and particularly to young men who were receiving instructions from the Council in country workshops. Contents Include: 1. The BlackSmith's Equiptment, 2. The BlackSmith's Tools, 3. The BlackSmith's Fire, 4. The BlackSmith's Work, 5. The BlackSmith's Materials, 6. Cutting off Cold Metal, 7. Rings, 8. Bends to Dimensions. It is also extensively illustrated throughout.

Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900's and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. Obscure Press are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

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