Humanities › History & Culture Dictionary of Old and Obsolete Occupations - W Share Flipboard Email Print A wheelwright builds and repairs wagon wheels, carriages, etc. for a living. Latitudestock/Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Vital Records Around the World Basics Surnames Genealogy Fun American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated February 16, 2019 The occupations found recorded in documents from prior centuries often appear unusual or foreign when compared to the occupations of today. The following occupations beginning with W are generally now considered old or obsolete, although some of these occupational terms are still in use today. Wabster - weaver Wadding maker - maker of wadding (usually made of old rags or cotton) for stuffing upholstered furniture Wafer maker - maker of church communion wafers Wagoner / Waggoner - teamster not for hire. The WAGNER surname is the 7th most common name in Germany. Wailer - Mine worker who removed impure rocks in a coal mine Wain house proprietor - owner of a building where wagons could be parked for a fee Wainius - ploughman Wainwright - wagon maker Waiter - customs officer or tide waiter; one who waited on the tide to collect duty on goods brought in Waitman - Nightwatchman who guarded the gates of a city, usually marking the hours with the ringing of a small bell Waker - A person whose job was to wake workers in time for early morning work Walker / Waulker - fuller; cloth trampler or cleaner. The WALKER surname is the 28th most popular name in the United States. Waller - 1) Specialist in building walls; 2) salt maker. The WALLER surname is one variation of WALL. Wardcorn - Watchman armed with a horn for sounding the alarm on the event of intruders or trouble. Common during medieval times. Warker - Specialist at building walls, embattlements, and embankments Warper / Warp Beamer - a textile worker who arranged the individual yarns which created the "warp" of the fabric upon a large cylinder called a beam. Water bailiff - 1) A custom's officer who searched ships as they came into port; 2) one employed to protect fisheries from poachers Water carter / Water carrier - Someone who sold fresh water from a traveling cart Waterguard - customs officer Wattle hurdle maker - one who made a special type of fence from wattle to contain sheep Weatherspy - astrologer Webber / Webster - weaver; operator of looms. The WEBER surname is the 6th most common German name. Wet nurse - A women who feeds the children of others with her own breast milk (usually for a fee) Wetter - either one who dampened paper during the printing process, or one in the glass industry who detached glass by wetting Wharfinger - a person who owned or was in charge of a wharf Wheel tapper - a railway worker who checked for cracked wheels by striking them with a long-handled hammer and listening to their ring Wheelwright - builder and repairer of wagon wheels, carriages etc. Wheeryman - one in charge of a wheery (light rowboat) Whey cutter - a worker in the cheese industry Whiffler - an officer who went before an army or procession to clear the way by blowing a horn or trumpet Whipcorder - a maker of whips Whipperin - in charge of managing the hounds in a hunt Whisket weaver - basket maker White cooper - one who makes barrels from tin or other light metals White limer - one who painted walls and fences with white lime Whitesmith - tinsmith; worker of tin who finishes or polishes the work Whitewing - street sweeper Whitster - bleacher of cloth Willow plaiter - one who made baskets Wing coverer - a worker who covered airplane wings with linen fabric Wonkey scooper - person who operated a scoop-type contraption from a horse Woolcomber - one who operated machines that separate fibers for spinning in the woolen industry Woolen billy piercer - worked in a woolen mill to piece together broken yarns Wool man / Wool sorter - one who sorted wool into different grades Wright - a skilled worker in various trades. The WRIGHT surname is the 34th most common name in the United States.