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Top 10 Terrible Jobs Boys Have Done Through History



Child labor still occurs today; In fact, we even wrote a list about it. However, if we look back through the history of Christianity (which we would largely see as the West today), we see an almost constant commitment by boys to the worst jobs we have to offer. Jobs that adult men either did not want or for which they were not equipped in the same way (for example, because they were too tall). This list takes a journey through relatively young history to explore ten of the worst jobs our boys had to endure.

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10 Agriculture


Agriculture as a job for children is still a big part of family farm life today, but in the past children worked wherever they could and for whoever they could. That meant laborious hours under the glowing sun were paid a cent. Without responsible parents, little indulgence was offered when a boy fell ill or was overwhelmed by work. This is an industry where many girls have been hired for less strenuous jobs like sorting fruits and vegetables.

Children provided extremely cheap (and sometimes almost free) labor to farmers whose margins were tiny in extremely difficult times. Not only did the depression rage, but the dust bowl formed and the world wavered from the aftermath of the First World War. . . and maybe subconsciously preparing for the next one. [1]

Child labor was largely ended in the United States in 1938 as part of efforts to cope with the global economic crisis. It was justified that unemployed men could take on these jobs by banning child labor. Combined with laws that force higher wages and union efforts in certain industries, this had the desired effect, and children were allowed to be children for the first time in modern history.

9 Picolo

Ludwig Bemelmans, author of the book series Madeline for children, described the life of Picolos in his fantastic book When you have lunch with the Emperor . The book is about his youth as an immigrant boy from Austria, who worked at the Ritz in New York during the Great Depression. The book tells lively and shabby stories from the underbelly of New York Ritz, where he worked as a young man during the Great Depression after he emigrated from Austria-Hungary. [2]

“The child Picolo is an institution in all European restaurants. His head barely reaches over the table; his ears are red and stand out because everyone is pulling them. And if he is a man, he will still quickly pull his head to the side if someone around him suddenly moves because he has always done so to alleviate the blows that rained on him from the owner to the last maid ; They usually hit him out of habit. "He adds:" [W] If you see [ . . . ] one of these old waiters [ . . . ] leaning on a chair, with ugly lightless eyes and a dead face full of misery and meanness, you see so few young people , with flat, crippled feet on which he dragged his dead childhood almost to the end of his useless life. “

The Picolo worked from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and its job was to do anything undesirable that no one else wanted to do. He cleaned the ashtrays. He scratched the old food from plates. He folded newspapers, washed dishes, carried water and bowed to his superiors for half a day. Still, the Picolo job for a boy at that time was not the worst option available to him, as we'll see.

The 1993 film King of the Hill (regardless of the animation TV series) is based on the life of a boy who, due to the circumstances, is forced to become a Picolo. It is considered Steven Soderbergh's most underrated picture, so it's worth a look.

8 apprenticeships

Training for a boy typically started between the ages of ten and fourteen. Continuing with the above words by Ludwig Bemelmans: “[T] Picolo was viewed with envy by the trainees of the plumbers and cobblers. They also had red ears, but not enough to eat and no cigarettes, no drinks, no tips. “Given that in the Middle Ages a boy had to pay to become an apprentice, it was a novelty that he was even paid for the job in the 19th and 20th centuries. [3]

Still, it was difficult work and the artisans who accepted these boys generously punished them. But unlike many other jobs on this list, there was at least sufficient certainty that you were expecting a good job with an equally good salary in the competition for your training. Such a prospect in times of hunger and poverty would have been a real blessing for the boys who were "lucky" to end up in training. How the world has changed!

7 Canning Workers


Working in the canning factories meant spending hours in the icy Atlantic winters chopping, packing and transporting fish and other foods. Canning was still a relatively young company and, like so many other jobs on this list, needed a large workforce of unskilled workers. Children, like the above boy at the age of nine, received up to five cents per box they processed.

Despite the dangers of working in such horrible conditions (terrible enough for adult men!), The boys also had to deal with extremely dangerous cutting tools and canning machines designed to cut and seal metal. One can only imagine the losses that would have resulted from the sheds and shipyards in which these boys worked.

Unfortunately, many of these industries in which boys were hired were run by benefactors. Men (and sometimes women) who felt that they could give the child a better life by offering them work. This is definitely reminiscent of the famous quote from C. S. Lewis, who said: “Of all tyrants, tyranny that is genuinely waged for the benefit of its victims is possibly the most depressing. It would be better to live under robber knights than under all-powerful moral busy bodies. The cruelty of the robber knight can sometimes sleep, his desire can be saturated at some point; But those who torture us for our own good will torture us endlessly because they do so with the consent of their own conscience. “ [4]

6 Bootblack (Shoeshine Boy)

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There is an anecdote that tells us that Joe Kennedy (former President Kennedy's father), after receiving stock tips from a shoeshine boy, realized that a child was wearing dirty old boots for polished his livelihood, could trade share in the market, it might be time to get out of it! He immediately sold all of his shares and avoided the massive market crash the next day that triggered the Great Depression.

Apart from anecdotes, the job of boot black was a difficult job. The boys involved often fought against others in the same trade around their corner, and you can imagine how vicious it could be if starving children were involved. The job would barely produce enough money to live, and that meant it was going to be seven days a week, rain or shine. But for those who were able to purchase the expensive polish and kit needed, this was a far better option than many of the others at the time.

The very first picture taken of a person is that of a man whose shoes were polished by a boot black. The photo was taken in 1838 and can be seen here. People are in the lower left quadrant. At the time of the photo, Gregory XVI was Pope; He was the last pope to be a simple priest when he was elected (he was ordained bishop four days after he was appointed pope). He was the Pope who condemned and prohibited participation in the Atlantic slave trade.

Another fact related to Bootblack is that the character of Henoch "Nucky" Thompson in the brilliant television series Boardwalk Empire credited his rapid rise to reading the boy's book Ragged Dick or Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks . Unlike the characters in the TV series, the book is genuine and was written by Horatio Alger Jr. in 1867. It tells the story of young Dick, who begins as a poor boy on the streets of New York and elevates himself through perseverance, thrift, and prudence. [5]

Ragged Dicks Bildungsroman (Coming-of-Age-Story) was extremely popular at the time of publication because it embodied the good character that all boys wanted to achieve . Books like this embodied the American dream. I can't recommend them enough – both modern teenage boys and adult men for the pleasure of reading. You can buy them here. Ad astra per aspera!

10 modern forms of child labor

5 cotton spinning workers

The invention of cotton gin and a variety of other mechanical devices in brief Afterwards, it was a gift from God in post-slavery in the West. The American Civil War and the abolition of the slave trade by Republican President Lincoln led to a cotton shortage in Europe that bordered on a crisis for the nation. When life in the states returned to normal with a new approach to growing and harvesting cotton, industrial inventions brought things back to their peak and beyond.

The new machines were faster than a man, more precisely than a man, but far more deadly. By using cotton gin and spinning machines there was a very real risk of losing life or limbs. Security mechanisms were not considered important and there was a lack of supervision in the factories. And since children were children, breakdowns occasionally had to happen. Pictured here is the twelve-year-old Giles Newsom from 1912, two fingers of which were torn from a spinning machine in the cotton mill. He had slipped and his arm was caught in the machine's gears. At the same time, Giles' eleven-year-old brother also worked in the factory. [6]

His family's reaction to the accident does not conform to our modern principles: “Now he has arrived where he could help his mother, and then this happens and he can never do it again so he work oughter. "This seemingly heartless quote from the boy's aunt underlines the importance of child labor for family survival in the days before the central bank and easy lending. Or maybe the aunt just sent a message to the mill owner to cough up a lot as compensation.

4 Soldier


It is known that child soldiers exist today, but this applies to the ancient times when the Romans regularly employed boys at the age of fourteen for the general army (El Salvador in the 1990s), boys fought for the rebel troops, and many child soldiers were spotted in the Balkans during their troubles.

The most shocking example of historical nature is that of Momcilo Gavric, the seven-year-old boy who aged a year later of eight years in a Serbian army unit and was made a non-commissioned officer. because he was orphaned when his family was killed in the war. He helped the military destroy the troops that had killed his parents. After the war he was sent to school in England, but returned in time and remained in Serbia until his death at the age of 86 in 1993. Many monuments have been erected to commemorate him. [7]

Despite the fairy tale story of Momcilo Gavric's life, children in the military are a terrible situation that should be prevented, and luckily, most nations (at least Western) have laws against the use of children in Struggle.

3 Prostitutes

One of the lowest jobs on this list is tragically one that is still seen the most today and may be due to the secret nature of many online apps and is executed more often than in the past Purpose of misused websites. Child prostitution is most commonly associated with girls, but is equally common and harmful in boys. In Victorian England, Jack Saul caused a scandal when he shamelessly registered as a "sodomite" and "professional Mary-ann" in court at the age of 18 and admitted a long and successful career as a rent boy (suggesting that he was a Child had started work in Ireland). There were rumors that one of his customers was the handsome Prince Albert, who was only seven years older than him, and the oldest grandson of Queen Victoria, who ruled at the time. [8]

Interestingly, this is the same Prince Albert who was often touted as Jack The Ripper. He died of the Spanish flu pandemic at the age of 28. Prostitution was particularly widespread among Catholic boys at a time when “papists” were seriously discriminated against in England. In addition, many of the children who participated in this profession would have been practically enslaved by pimps and street gangs for this purpose. Today, many of the boys involved are runaways with very few opportunities to legally earn money due to child labor laws and absent families. The picture shows two young prostitutes who haggled with potential customers in Times Square in New York in the 1970s. [9]

2 Miners

While we are annoyed about our children, playing video games or watching annoying YouTube videos, if they should play in the sun, we should the boy to save a thought of the days past that have spent their entire childhood deep beneath the surface of the earth and for the men who worked to bring coal to the surface in order to keep the machinery of the world moving, to accomplish minor tasks.

These children (like the boy depicted in 1908 with an oil wick lamp on the cap) worked in the mines every day from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, driving the animals that pulled the coal wagons and opening and closing doors, protecting the miners from possible dangers, if they did occur, or basically performed a task assigned to them, for which their small bodies or hands were more suitable than those of adult men. [10]

While Our Children The boys who worked in these mines promised a future full of opportunities. They had no future but lung diseases and hard work for a lifetime. And that was the good news; The bad news was that you took the risk of being killed by a mine collapse every day. The child's eyes cannot hide his acute awareness of this fact.

1 Chimney sweep


The tragic life of the chimney sweep all too often ended in death. Unfortunately, the risk of death was seen as a necessary evil, as the lack of clean fireplaces for city dwellers would have been far more catastrophic due to uncontrolled fires and freezing temperatures. In fact, it was the Great Fire of London in 1666 that led to the adoption of boys (some only four years old) for this task. The little boys were bought by their parents and brushed into tiny chimneys to do a job that was otherwise impossible due to the sharp angles and length of some chimneys.

On a good day, a young chimney sweep cleaned the chimneys all day long and then retired to a miserable meal that slept on the floor of his master's dilapidated accommodations. As he stood on a roof preparing to sweep the first chimney of the day every day, he knew the sunrise he saw could be his last, since it was very likely that this chimney could be the one who could finally make it: by falling, by suffocation or by being stuck. [11]

In a terribly sad turn of an already tragic story, the bodies of many of these innocent children remain buried in the chimneys that killed them across London. There has even been speculation that the British Houses of Parliament are littered with dead boy bodies. Even if the bodies were recovered, a lack of records at a time when a poor boy's life was so little worth, it would be impossible to assign names to the dead. [12]

An extremely good book on the subject is British Chimney Sweeps: Five Centuries of Chimney Sweep and I recommend it if you are interested in this dirty side of life in Victorian England to have.

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Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and editor-in-chief of Listverse. He spends his time working on the website, looking for new lists and collecting curios. He is fascinated by everything historical, creepy and bizarre.

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