VSL// Fascinating images from a vanished age

With unemployment still on the rise, it is interesting (and, yes, a bit frustrating) to note all the jobs lost to pesky ole innovation. Get a feel for what you could have been doing at “The Jobs of Yesteryear: Obsolete Occupations,” a multimedia essay on npr.org.

The article incorporates photos, interviews and written descriptions illustrating occupations that have fallen prey to technology. You may be surprised at the tasks by which people once made a living: Elevator operators made sure the car stopped level with the floor; bowling alleys used pinsetters—underpaid teens stationed at the other end of the alley—to clear and replace fallen bowling pins; and cigar rollers were entertained by lectors, who got paid to read novels and newspapers out loud as the men worked. Take a break and have a look—these jobs may have been considered menial, but they had an intimacy that high-tech can’t touch (at least, not yet).

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