Press enter after choosing selection

Lost Occupations

Lost Occupations image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

H'ilf a century ago bellows-making was a thrivinjr trade. Every bowso bad its pair of betlows, and in overy well-furn ished mansion thre was t pair hung by the side of evcry fire-placo Ipswien, in Massachusetts, aequired quite a i+oioriety all over New Bngland tor the elegant and substantial articles of the kiml it produced. But as stoves and grates took the place of oyen ftre-plaees, and as coal was eubstituted for wood, the dsmand tor bellows diminished, until the business as a separate trade quito did out. 'ine saiws is tre of fiint-cutting. Plints were once not on-ly tor fire aru".sbut for tinder-boxes, and a tin der-b:)i was as necessary for every house as a gridiron oí a skillet. E-vcry one who looks back to childbood froiri furty odd ycars ago must remcniber the cold wirttfir inornings wheiv ths persistent eraek, crack of the ffiïrt against tho steel sent up-from the kitchen an odor of igniting tinder and sulphur wliich pervüded the house. I have no more idea what became of the flint producers than of the old man of sorrowfol memories whov three or fiur times a week, called at our dour with brinuitone matches tor tale at a cent tbo halt' dezen bunches. Both have as completely vanibhed f'roni Enlatid and New Eiijrlahd as have the red Indiaii8 and the Druids. Theu, ngaia, aie gono the pin makers, who, though they have been in their graves thia quarter of a century, still figure in lectures and essays to Ilústrate the rtdviiutugns of división of labor. Insted of a jiin taking u dazen men or more to eub grind, point, lieud, polish, and what not, as it uscd to do, pias are now made by httlü machines a'. the rato of ttuve buudred a minute, of which luachinea a single chiid uttouds halt' a dozen. Nuil inakiog at tüe forge is another lDït iudusuy. Tune was, and that in this nineteeiith centurj', wlien every nail was made on !he anvil Now, trom one hundí et to ono tliousand nails per minute aio made by louchinei. The uailer who wol kt, at tho torsre n but a bad chance in ooiof eting with such Bntagonuti ; and he uouat have uo ctinnue at all were it not bis n.ii.s ara Un told toughev tlian the foruier. As it is, the poor mi n fullow an all but hopelesa voeaiion, and uvo cqpdoxned to lnu in oontinual handgrii)8 with poverty. iii the daya of iJresidents Madison and Monroe, and even later, straw-bonnet ïiKiIiing was praotióed in every middleclass house where thora were growing families, and straw-plaiting ionned the srtaple of domestic leisure work. At my grandfathpi's, aiound the huge kuchen iire-place, CeBsar, bom a slave, who sat ou al. oak bench directly under the gaping chimney, and we boys, who crowded upon the settle, used to pass winters' evenings splitting Btraws, while the lassies weiH piaiting them. Then, bonnets were bonnets, covering the head with a margin oí a foot or two to spare, and presenting a sort of conical, shell-sbaped recess, in which dimpling smiles and witching curls nestled in comiort. The work has vanished, and will never re-appear, unless the whirligig of fashion should ciicle uaain into the forsaken


Old News
Michigan Argus