A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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699.—Other Workers

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ascension pipe man (gas works) ; augerer, pipe cleaner, pipe opener, pipe trier
keeps clean sides of ascension pipes leading from retort up to hydraulic main along which gas passes, by scraping away condensed coal tar deposited there, with long rod with circular scraper or auger.
ash plant attendant, ash hopper, ash hopper man
controls by means of levers automatic bucket conveyor plant which conveys coal, or other fuel, from stack to furnace hoppers, and removes ashes from furnace and conveys them to ash tip; oils and greases plant and sees that it runs smoothly.
see ascension pipe man.
barrow man (gas works)
wheels coal, coke, breeze and other material about works, e.g., wheels iron ore from purifiers to revivifying house, and wheels it back to purifiers when revivified.
bogey man (gas works)
see coke man.
bottom man (vertical retorts) (gas works)
controls by means of levers discharging apparatus at bottom of vertical retort, and so regulates speed of coke leaving retort.
breaker man, coal breaker, coal breaker attendant (gas works) ; coal crusher driver, coal gear man
controls by means of levers crushing machine for crushing coal before carbonisation in retorts; if machine is driven by engine, starts and stops engine by levers and oils it as required; in some gas works, also controls in same way bucket elevator, which picks up crushed coal and tips it into hoppers from which charging machine is filled; responsible for proper distribution of coal to hoppers; c-f. coal elevator attendant; may also attend to tipping of trucks or wagons supplying coal to crushing plant.
breeze forker, breeze loader
see coke filler.
breeze picker
see coke picker.
breeze plant attendant
see breeze washer.
breeze washer (gas works) ; breeze plant attendant
controls, by means of fevers, breeze washing plant, which deals with "pan" breeze (breeze recovered from gas producer furnaces); oils plant and watches it to ensure . that it runs properly.
busker, busser-in
see furnace filler.
chain man (waterworks)
carries measuring chain, theodolite and leveller, and generally assists engineer (690) q.v. in taking levels, etc., for new works or for reconstruction and repair of existing works.
checker, coal (electricity, gas works)
checks weight of coal received on weighbridge, records weight, and makes up returns of coal received and sent to furnaces or to stock.
cinder hoistman (gas works) ; breeze elevator man
controls, by means of levers, power-driven elevator which lifts breeze to screens or to loading hoppers; oils and cleans bearings and generally watches machinery for proper working.
cleaner (electricity supply), boiler house cleaner, engine-room cleaner, engine cleaner, sub-station cleaner
cleans and sweeps up floors; cleans plant, blows dust out of electrical plant with compressed air, under supervision; cleans mess room, offices, etc.
cleaner (gas works)
cleans mechanical plant with oily waste in so far as this is not done by drivers or attendants of each machine or apparatus.
cleaner, filter-bed cleaner (waterworks) ; filter-bed labourer
cleans filter bed, under direction of filter bed foreman (692) q.v.; either shovels sand (or other filtering material) which has become slimy or dirty into barrows, wheels it away, and tips it on a heap, ready to be washed; brings it back when it has been washed, and spreads it on filter bed (or spreads fresh filtering material, in place of that removed); or operates by means of levers a mechanical cleaner (a small electric motor constructed to pick up, wash, and replace filtering material); guides motor by steering gear; oils and cleans it.
cleaner, flue (gas works)
removes dust with rake as it accumulates in flues conveying heating gas round retort settings.
cleaner, lamp (gas works)
cleans street lamps at regular intervals; may also clean fittings and replace broken mantles,
see mantle maintenance fitter; in small areas sometimes done by lamplighter (989) q.v. during daylight hours.
cleaner, leading (electricity supply)
a leading hand among a number of cleaners q.v. whom he directs while he himself works with them; responsible to engine room foreman (692) q.v.
cleaner, line (gas works)
removes coal or coke spilt from wagons, etc., from railway lines, crossings, and points.
cleaner, retort (gas works)
see scurfer.
cleaner, stove (gas works)
cleans stoves sent in for repair; may also clean cookers in private houses on contract, etc.
clinker man (gas works), water gas clinkerer
removes clinker and ashes from producer gas furnace with long iron bar.
clinker picker
see coke picker.
coal borderer (gas works)
builds up containing wall of coal stack with large lumps of coal; whitewashes these lumps, as precaution against theft.
coal crusher driver, coal gear man (gas works)
see breaker man.
coal handler, coal labourer (electricity supply) ; coal wheeler
unloads and stacks coal with a hand shovel and barrow.
coal man (gas works)
as for coal handler.
coke backer (gas works) ; coke porter
carries sacks of coke on his back from coke fillers to carts or vans for distribution.
coke breaker attendant
as for break man (coal).
coke drawer
see coke raker.
coke filler, coke forker (gas works) ; breeze forker, breeze loader
(i) fills small wagons with coke after it has been quenched by coke quencher q.v., using a coke fork;
(ii) releases pin, allowing coke (which has been automatically discharged from retorts into wire screen) to slide into wagon beneath;
(iii) places sack on "bob-up" (small weighing platform which automatically bobs up when weight upon it reaches 1 cwt.) and shovels coke, from coke tip into sack with coke fork; or may hold sack open while-, other worker shovels coke in.
coke handling plant attendant (gas works)
a conveyor attendant q.v. who, at signal from coke hold' labourer q.v., moves lever, setting in motion engine of conveyor plant which conveys full coke wagon automatically to coke tip; similarly at signal from coke tipper, sets conveyor plant in motion to bring back empty wagon to coke hold to be refilled; may also operate cocks of water spray, which quenches hot coke as it is conveyed.
coke labourer (gas works)
responsible for cleanliness and order of coke storage ground, using coke fork and broom; does any labouring jobs in or around storage ground.
coke hold labourer, coke hole labourer (gas works) ; coke pit man, pitman (gas works)
does unskilled labouring work in coke hold or hole, i.e., floor below retort house into which coke falls on being raked out from retorts; clears drains and gangways with coke fork; assists coke quencher q.v. generally.
coke loader
loads coke into barges, railway wagons, carts, etc., for conveyance in bulk; forks coke into sacks and carries sacks to wagon, etc. or forks direct in wagons.
coke man (oil, gas or water gas works) ; bogey man
fills coke bogeys with coke fork from stack and pushes them on to lift for transmission to charging floor; may also discharge coke on charging floor.
coke mounds man (gas works)
see stacker, coke.
coke picker ; breeze picker, clinker picker
(in small works) picks out coke from ashes, which have been raked out from floor of producer gas furnace, for further use, using hand rake; (in large works) tips ashes into hopper of machine which automatically separates various sizes of coke and breeze from ashes.
coke pit man (gas works)
see coke hold labourer.
coke porter (gas works)
see coke backer.
coke quencher, coke quencher attendant (gas works) ; coke skip attendant, quencher, waterman
connects metal skip of coke, ejected from retort, to chain attached to telpher motor; quenches coke by dashing a bucket of water, or directing hose, on it; quenches any coke that does not fall into skip, and shovels it into skip; in small ivories may also do work of fire raker q.v.
coke raker (gas works) ; coke drawer
rakes coke out of retort, after carbonisation, with a long iron fire-rake.
coker-in (gas works)
see furnace filler.
coke runner (gas works)
follows trucks of coke which are hauled by wire rope up incline to gantry, and tips coke into coke heap below.
coke skip attendant (gas works)
see coke quencher attendant.
coke tipper, coke tipman (gas works)
tips contents of small wagons of coke coming from retort house on to coke tips, or into ships, barges, or railway trucks; when wagons are controlled from central engine room of haulage system, signals to engine room attendant by electric bell or otherwise, that wagons are empty and ready for return to retort house.
conduit warden (waterworks) ; leatman
has general oversight over conduits; patrols them to watch for and report any damage to walls or source of pollution; regulates flow and height of water in conduit by opening or closing sluices.
conveyor attendant, conveyor man, conveyor operator (gas works or electricity supply)
operates by means of levers belt or bucket conveyor used for convoying coal, coke, or ashes from one part of works to another; oils, greases and cleans bearings of plant and sees that it works smoothly; usually keeps record of weight of mineral conveyed; in small works also trims coal, etc., heap at intervals to enable bucket to pick it up, or shovels material on to band of conveyor; often further designated. e.g., coke conveyor attendant, coal conveyor man.
cooling tower attendant (electricity supply) ; reservoir attendant, water attendant
regulates water supply to cooling tower in power house, (by means of which steam is condensed), either by means of pumps (which he oils, greases and cleans) or by turning valves or taps.
door cleaner, door opener (gas works) ; lid cleaner, lid opener, opener and closer
opens with long iron rod doors of retorts when carbonising process is finished, ready for discharging coke; applies torch to ignite small amount of gas remaining in retort; passes rod up ascension pipes to dislodge any tar or obstruction; chips away tar on inside of lid and face of mouthpiece; usually also shuts doors, see door shutter; works in conjunction with machine driver q.v.
door shutter (gas works) ; lid backer, lid closer, lid shutter
shuts with long iron rod metal doors of retort after they have been charged; sometimes done by door cleaner q.v.
electric light attendant (electricity supply) ; fault attendant, fault hand, fault man, fuse hand
one of "stand by" staff, to go out at short notice to consumers' premises to renew fuses, and make good any faults; responsible to installation inspector (692) q.v. and works under his direction.
elevator attendant, coal (gas works and electricity supply) ; hopper filler (gas works)
a conveyor attendant q.v. who attends to bucket elevator used for raising coal, e.g., from weighing room to top of crushing machine; of. breaker man.
elevator man, breeze (gas works)
see cinder hoistman.
elevator man, coke (gas works) ; hopper filler
starts and stops by means of lever elevator which carries coke up from coke tip to hopper over producer gas furnaces; oils, greases and cleans bearings.
fault attendant, fault hand, fault man (electricity supply)
see electric light attendant.
fender boy (gas works)
whitewashes fenders in front of retort lids to prevent tar from adhering.
filter-bed labourer, filter labourer (waterworks)
either a groundman q.v. or a filter-bed cleaner q.v.
fire raker (gas works)
tends and cleans fires of gas producers, raking out ashes and clinker; in small works also does work of coke quencher q.v.
furnace filler (gas works) ; busker, busser-in, coker-in, gas producer attendant
feeds and attends to gas producer furnace, adding coke as required, either by hand with coke fork or more usually by operating levers of coke charging machine.
furnace poker-in (gas works)
pokes furnace in which producer gas is made, with iron bar, through holes in side, to stimulate combustion; usually also a furnace filler q.v.
fuse hand (electric supply)
see electric light attendant.
gas house labourer (gas works)
general term for any man doing unskilled work in retort house.
gas labourer (gas works), gas works labourer
general term for unskilled labourers employed in manufacture or purification of coal-gas.
gas lighter (gas works)
lights, extinguishes, and keeps gas lamps clean in a gas works plant; cf. lamplighter (989).
gas producer attendant (gas works)
see furnace filler.
greaser ; oiler, oiler and greaser (electricity, water, or gas supply)
oils and greases machinery, particularly any machines, gearing, etc., which have no engineman in constant attendance, either by applying oil or grease with a piece of waste, or, in case of automatic oiling systems, by filling oil cups from can; often also cleans machinery; cf. cleaner; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., retort house greaser.
groundman (waterworks)
removes scum from turbid water; in winter, breaks ice when water in filter-beds is frozen; often done by filter-bed cleaner q.v.
handyman (gas works and waterworks)
semi-skilled man engaged in maintenance and repair of waterworks plant and machinery, or in keeping charging machines, in retort house of gas works, in running order.
hopper filler (gas works)
see elevator attendant, coal or elevator man, coke.
hydraulic main attendant, hydraulic main man (gas works) ; topman
works on top of retort benches and keeps hydraulic mains clean by unscrewing caps or plates at bends of bridge pipes and cleaning with iron rod any pipes choked with tar; is responsible to retort house foreman (692) q.v. for keeping ends of ascension pipes sealed, i.e., under level of water in hydraulic main; inspects gauges of a governor showing vacuum on top of water seal and regulates depths of water seal by admitting water or hanging weights on governor; cleans governor, and sweeps gangways, bed over retort, top of mains, etc.
index reader (gas works)
see meter reader (gas works).
lamp boy (gas works)
cleans, fills with oil and generally attends to lamps on railway points and crossings in works.
leatman (waterworks)
see conduit warden.
leverman, coke (gas works)
as for conveyor attendant.
lid backer, lid closer, lid shutter (gas works)
see door shutter.
lid cleaner, lid opener (gas works)
see door cleaner.
lid man (gas works)
a door opener q.v. or a door shutter q.v.
lime man (water gas)
prepares lime, by breaking it up with a shovel, to be used for purification of water gas.
linesman (waterworks)
is responsible for maintenance of aqueducts and pipe lines; sees that ground is kept clean and that gates and fences are in order; cf. walksmen (waterworks).
meter man, meter reader (electricity supply)
takes readings of meters on consumers' premises, for use in calculating charge for supply of current; reports suspected faulty meters, or damage to meters, ere., to meter inspector (692) q.v.; often employed at simple clerical work in office in intervals between quarterly readings.
meter reader (gas works) ; index reader
(i) reads and notes dials of station meter at gas works at fixed intervals, and also notes temperature and pressure of atmosphere at time of reading;
(ii) reads gas meters on consumers' premises, notes quantity consumed in his own record book and on consumer's card; collects coin from slot meters and pays rebate (if any) to consumer.
meter reader, meter state taker (waterworks)
as for meter man (electricity supply).
notice server (waterworks)
personally serves notices of cutting off supply to defaulting customers.
oddman (gas works)
as for gas labourer oiler (gas works).
oiler and greaser (electricity supply)
see greaser.
opener and closer (gas works)
see door cleaner.
pan cleaner, panner-out (gas works)
removes ashes and clinker from water pans under retort furnaces by raking them out from pan or by shovelling.
pipe cleaner, pipe opener, pipe trier (gas works)
see ascension pipe man.
pipe jumper (gas works)
an ascension pipe man q.v. who works on top of retort beds, unstopping blocked ascension pipes and connections thereto with a long bar.
pitman (gas works)
see coke hold labourer.
plugger-up (gas works)
plugs furnace feeding mouth with coke breeze to prevent gas from escaping, in substitution for lid or door.
pot boy (gas works)
performs odd jobs in connection with laying and jointing of district mains; keeps hut in which jointing materials, e.g., lead, implements, etc., are stored, in clean and tidy condition; notes quantities of materials used and reports to foreman main layer (561) q.v. when stocks are low; cleans spades, picks and other tools, and reports any damage or breakages to foreman; adds fuel to fire on which lead melting pots are placed and informs main layers when molten lead is ready for use.
purifier leveller (gas works) ; spreader
a purifier man q.v. who levels or spreads iron oxide with a long rake, as it is tipped into purifier chambers; tests depth of oxide against mark on rake to ascertain when correct quantity has been tipped in.
purifier man, purifier labourer, purification man (gas works)
one of a gang of men who takes lids from gas purifier chambers and opens doors at bottom to let spent iron oxide to fall out; removes spent oxide, with shovel and barrow, to shed for exposure to air; turns it over from time to time to assist re-oxidisation, and subsequently returns it and tips on to purifier grids for further use; works under supervision of purifier foreman (692) q.v.; in small works, works under purifier attendant (698) q.v. and may even do his work.
quencher (gas works)
see coke quencher.
rake driver (gas works)
withdraws coke from single-ended retorts with long rake.
reservoir attendant (electricity supply)
see cooling tower attendant.
reservoir attendant (waterworks)
patrols reservoirs and regulates by means of valves, flow of water into and out of reservoirs; where reservoir adjoins pumping station and is supplied therefrom reports state of water supply to engineer in charge of pumps and acts in conjunction with him; removes leaves and other refuse from water with a pole and bucket; in small undertakings, sometimes also acts as groundsman q.v.
retort house man (gas works)
general term for any man employed in retort house of gas works, including retort charger (693), machine driver (698), ascension pipe man, hydraulic main attendant q.v.
retort labourer (gas works)
a general labourer in retort house; sweeps up coal and dust on "stage" of retort house, wheels out clinker and dumps it, and performs any unskilled work in or about retort house.
river gratesman (waterworks)
see weed gratesman.
rope runner (gas works)
(i) attends to and operates rope systems by which small tubs of coal or coke are moved from place to place in gas works;
(ii) couples and uncouples wagons on works railway, operates point levers and assists locomotive driver generally.
runner-away (gas works), runner-off
pushes wagons of coal on narrow-gauge line, from wharf siding.
sand washer (waterworks)
spreads out dirty filtering material, which has been removed from filter beds by filter bed cleaners q.v. with a shovel and washes it by squirting water on it from a hose, or by feeding it to machines which clean it automatically.
scurfer, retort scurfer (gas works) ; retort cleaner
chips off deposited gas carbon from sides of retorts when it gets too thick, using a long-handled, chisel-pointed tool.
smoke-jack (gas works)
see stackman.
softening and filter attendant (waterworks) ; water softener
tends machine which feeds powdered lime to water to be softened as it runs along open channel to filter beds, and supervises mechanical filters through which water passes, after being softened, to remove excess of lime.
spreader (gas works)
see purifier leveller.
spreader, coal (gas works)
spreads coal evenly on coal stacks with shovel or fork, so that stack does not exceed given height.
spreader, coke (gas works)
(i) see stacker, coke;
(ii) a coke quencher q.v. who also throws coke to back of retort house with coke fork.
stacker, coal (gas works)
carries on back, or moves on trolley, bags or stacks of coal from weighing room to stack.
stacker, coke (gas works) ; coke mounds man, coke spreader, coke trimmer
shovels coke into stacks in yard when brought from retort house.
stackman (gas works) ; smoke-jack
cleans and generally attends to flues of retort house; rakes out dust with long iron rod.
stageman (gas works)
general term for any man working in retort house on a stage above producer gas furnaces and coke quenching floor; cf. stageman (oil gas) (698).
strainer washer (waterworks)
removes leaves and other refuse from strainer at mouth of inflow pipe to filter beds; if strainer is very dirty, stops flow of water, removes strainer and scrubs it with a brush before replacing it.
subway man (gas works)
examines gas main in brick subway under public street and reports defects in main and in subway.
tallyman, breeze, coal or coke (gas works)
see weigher.
tank man (gas works)
see tower man.
tar and liquor plant attendant
see tower man.
topman (not on vertical retorts)
see hydraulic main attendant ; cf. topman (vertical retorts) (693).
tower man, tar tower attendant (gas works) ; tank man, tar and liquor plant attendant
attends to condenser towers through which gas is passed for cooling purposes, to expedite deposition of tar, which falls into seal pots and thence runs over into settling tanks; ascertains depth of tar accumulation by inserting measuring rod into valve; sets small pump going when necessary to pump tar into tanks; keeps seal pots clean and ensures that pipes to seal pots and from them to settling tanks are free from obstructions.
trimmer, coal trimmer (electricity supply)
(i) unloads, stacks, and trims coal by hand;
(ii) moves all riddlings and assists stokers generally.
trimmer, ash (electricity supply)
rakes out ashes from furnaces on to firing floor (i.e., in front of boiler); in small undertakings, sometimes also acts as ash wheeler q.v.
trimmer, coal (gas works)
spreads coal evenly with a shovel as it is delivered on stack by conveyor for storage; shifts coal with shovel to facilitate its delivery by gravitation on to belt of conveyor; shovels into barrow coal spilt from charging machine in retort house and wheels away to stack.
trimmer, coke
see stacker, coke (gas works).
trolleyman (gas works)
see wheeler, coke.
trucker (gas works)
operates by means of lever mechanical tipping devices attached to trucks and discharges contents where desired.
valve boy (gas works)
stands on top of retort benches to open and close valves admitting gas from retorts into exhausters at a signal from retort house foreman (692).
valve labourer (gas works)
oils and greases valves on district mains.
walksman (waterworks)
patrols supply-rivers, reservoirs, conduits, aqueducts, etc., to detect leakages or other defects; makes provisional repairs and reports to manager; usually further designated, e.g. aqueduct walksman, conduit walksman, reservoir walksman, or river walksman; see also linesman (waterworks); cf. pipe ranger (578).
water attendant (electricity supply)
see cooling tower attendant.
waterman (gas works)
see coke quencher.
water softener (waterworks)
as for softening and filter attendant.
water softening plant attendant (electricity supply)
empties tank by opening valves or taps; cleans plant by hand with brush or mop, and, if necessary, scales or scrapes parts •which have become encrusted; opens valves or taps to admit water and allows it to flow freely through tank to flush it; fills tank with water by closing outlet and throws in prescribed quantity of chemical (usually lime).
weed gratesman (waterworks) ; river gratesman
keeps iron grates, in supply-rivers and conduits, free of weeds and rubbish; uses hand or a brush on a long pole.
weighbridgeman (gas works)
weighs all coal and coke on weighbridge; records tare, gross- and nett weights of all trucks; fills up all forms and records required.
weigher (gas works) ; breeze, coal or coke tallyman
weighs and records weights of all coal received or sent from works, of coal sent to retort house, of coke sent out from retort house, of coke used for various purposes at works, of coke sold, of breeze produced, used and sold, etc.
wheeler, ash (gas, electricity and water works)
shovels ashes, raked out from furnace into barrow or truck and pushes them out of boiler house and tips on to ash tip.
wheeler, breeze
see wheeler, coke.
wheeler, coal (gas works)
fills with hand shovel small tubs of coal, and wheels them from weighing room to crushing machine, or from crushing machine to retort house, or elsewhere from place to place as may be required; tips coal from tubs at end of journey.
wheeler, coal (electricity supply)
see coal handler.
wheeler, coke (gas works) ; breeze wheeler, trolleyman
pushes small wagons or barrows of coke (which he sometimes also fills with hand shovel), from retort house and tips contents on coke tip, or otherwise loads and wheels coke from place to place, as required.

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From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.