Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Trade

So many of my favorite historical trades (yes, I’m using the term lightly) begin with the letter T that I thought they deserved a post to themselves. We have:

Tar. Doesn’t it evoke so much more feeling than “sailor”?

Thimblerigger. You know that “Which cup is it under game?” The man in charge of such prestidigitation was called a thimblerigger. I think it’s also a great word to slip into conversation by way of a metaphor.

Ticket-of-leave man. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, criminals who were excused early from their sentence by way of a ticket of leave were given this title.

Ticket porter. Another 19th century trade. Not just anyone could be a porter (person who carried things). You had to have a ticket to show you were official.

Tidewaiter. This was a customs official, so called because he had to wait for boats to come in on the tide before boarding them.

Tinker. Someone who repaired pots and pans. I love the ring of it, but it was considered a very low profession.

Top sawyer. Yes, the man who sawed on top (of a saw pit), which was an enviable position for obvious reasons. The term came to mean anyone in a very good position.

Tosspot. So it’s not exactly a trade, but it is a very good 19th century word for a person who drank a lot.


  1. Fascinating how specific these trades are. I esp. like thimblerigger and tinker.

  2. Thimblerigger, yeah. Never heard that before.

  3. Such good "T" words. Many I've never heard of before. Just stopping by to say hi on the challenge.

  4. So interesting! Great "t" post!

    I'm A-Z blog hopping, and it's always nice to find a fellow Christian writer.

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