Arkwright and more interesting jobs to add to your resume

2 min read

Thinking of a career change? Sure, you could be a marketing specialist or an accountant, but why not spice up your resume a little with one of these historical jobs whose titles are as unique as the jobs themselves.


The suffix -wright is an Old English word dating back to the 600s, meaning to craft or build. You’ve probably heard it appended to playwright, for example. As you might expect, an arkwright builds arks … not of the Noah variety, but wooden chests.


Another name defined by its suffix, a -smith refers to hitting or striking — such as a blacksmith or goldsmith. A redsmith worked with copper back in the day. Before you think that’s a weird way to label it, keep in mind, blacksmiths actually work with iron, not black.

Knock knobbler

This quirky name was given to Elizabethan-era workers tasked with chasing unruly dogs and children out of churches. Thankfully today you can just call yourself a dog catcher.


The next time you take a hot bath or shower, don’t take it for granted. Medieval ewerers were tasked with gathering hot water for that very purpose. They suffered more than a few scalding injuries along the way.


Many modern last names come from the occupations your ancestors used to hold – like Miller or Baker. A chandler refers to a candlemaker, which almost makes sense.


Before there was Watson, there were math geniuses working at NASA. As depicted in the movie “Hidden Figures,” these number-computing roles were often held by brilliant women.


This Ancient Roman title refers to hairdressers, but the similarities between stylists of today pretty much end with the word hair. Poor ornatrices were up to their arms in curious styling tinctures and dyes made from rotten leeches, squid ink, pigeon poop, and more.

Necessary woman

Sure, all women are necessary, but in the Middle Ages, they were particularly key. Necessary women were tasked with emptying the chamber pots (aka toilets) in a royal palace. On the upside, these essential laborers had one of the higher paid positions in the household.


This somewhat backbreaking job was often filled by young men in the 1930s. They worked at bowling alleys, resetting pins every time they were knocked down. The job went by the wayside with the advent of the mechanical pinsetter.

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