7 Jobs That Went the Way of the Dodo Goodbye gandy dancers and knocker-up men By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Mar 9, 2014 9:39 AM CDT 44 comments Comments Making a phone call took a little longer way back when. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – The modern age has a way of turning jobs obsolete in a hurry. At the San Francisco Chronicle, Katie Dowd picks out some of the more unusual casualties through history. A sampling: Newspaper readers: The title is no joke. Decades ago, factories sometimes employed official readers to stand on a platform and read to workers. Low-tech alarms: Long before the days of smartphones, people who had to be up in the morning paid "knocker-up" men and women to tap on their windows, using long poles if necessary. (The source link has a photo of one such expert in action in London.) Bowling-pin setters: Yes, actual humans had to reset pins between shots before automation took over. Switchboard operators: Back in the day, cities and towns employed long rows of these operators to manually connect every phone call. Leech collectors: This was actually a booming business in the mid-19th century, when doctors needed the slimy creatures for their state-of-the-art bloodletting. Ice cutters: Because refrigeration wasn't always as easy as it is today. Gandy dancers: These awesomely named workers laid railroad tracks during the heyday of the industry's expansion, generally singing all the while. Click for the full list of 14.