No matter how much you may dislike your own job from time to time, chances are high that your job is a lot safer than the jobs which feature on the list below. Simply continue reading to discover some of the most dangerous jobs in human history.
Child chimney sweeps:
While in modern times most individuals don’t start working until they’ve reached their teenage years or early twenties, in the 1700s and the 1800s children who were orphaned or raised in poverty often earned a living as chimney sweeps. As children are a lot smaller than fully grown adults and could better fit inside narrow chimneys. Being a child chimney sweep was dangerous for two reasons. Firstly children often fell from great heights. Secondly due to working around coal residue in confined spaces many chimney sweeps developed respiratory problems or would develop lung cancer.
In the 19th and 20th centuries young girls and young women would work in match making factories and were regularly exposed to white phosphorus. A toxic substance which caused match girls to develop what became known as phossy jaw. Some side effects of which included brain damage, severely swollen gums and toothaches. Due to the risks involved with their jobs many match girls died at a premature age.
Bubonic plague body collectors:
In the 1300s body collectors were hired to transport dead bodies during the bubonic plague to make shift cemeteries. Where mass burial sites were created to dispose of the countless bodies which were a casualty of the devastation caused by the bubonic plague. Sadly many body collectors lost their lives as a result of man handling infected bodies and ended up catching the plague themselves. Especially as you could catch the plague by simply touching the clothes of someone who had died after being infected by the bubonic plague.
Greek and Roman chariot racers:
While Greek and Roman chariot racers enjoyed a degree of fame, becoming a chariot racer in ancient Greece or ancient Rome was a dangerous occupation. As racers had their wrists tied to their reins. Which means that if they fell from their standing position they would be dragged along the ground by their horses. A fate which was rather commonplace and killed countless chariot racers. Even the chariot racers who lived to tell the tale of their career would often suffer from paralysis or a loss of a limb. While other chariot racers had to live the rest of their life, with serious head injuries.
You may be wondering why hat makers feature on a list of the most dangerous jobs in history. Especially on a list which also includes bubonic plague body collectors and child chimney sweeps. In the 1700s and the 1800s hat makers routinely used mercury in order to stick fur onto their hats. Mercury is extremely toxic and if it is inhaled it can affect an individual’s brain. Furthermore mercury exposure can lead to neuromotor issues. As well as lifelong psychological issues.
So next time you find it hard to drag yourself out of your bed in the morning, it’s a great idea to spare a thought for those who lost their lives or suffered misfortune working as hat makers, chariots races, body collectors, match girls and chimney sweeps.