You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

16 Bizarre Careers for Women That No Longer Exist

GOBankingRates Logo By Amen Oyiboke of GOBankingRates | Slide 2 of 18: During World War I, young working women took jobs in clock factories as dial painters due to the pay being more than three times that of the average factory job. Glow-in-the-dark watches were all the rage, and clock manufacturers used a luminous paint made with radium to get their clocks to glow. Female workers would painstakingly paint the numbers onto tiny dials by hand using thin, dainty brushes. Often, they were instructed to get the brushes into a point with their lips to make sure they got crisp, clean strokes. Sadly, the women didn’t realize they should worry about the radium because the factories assured them the paint was safe.
Radiation poisoning isn’t immediate, so it took a while for symptoms to occur. But eventually, the women started to experience tooth loss, hips locking into place and skin that wouldn’t heal. As conditions worsened and the poisoning became deadly, dial painters took on the radium companies in lawsuits. Their legal action helped change the U.S.’s nascent workplace safety standards.
Up Next: Best and Worst Dangerous Jobs in America

Dial Painters, aka 'Radium Girls'

During World War I, young working women took jobs in clock factories as dial painters due to the pay being more than three times that of the average factory job. Glow-in-the-dark watches were all the rage, and clock manufacturers used a luminous paint made with radium to get their clocks to glow. Female workers would painstakingly paint the numbers onto tiny dials by hand using thin, dainty brushes. Often, they were instructed to get the brushes into a point with their lips to make sure they got crisp, clean strokes. Sadly, the women didn’t realize they should worry about the radium because the factories assured them the paint was safe.

Radiation poisoning isn’t immediate, so it took a while for symptoms to occur. But eventually, the women started to experience tooth loss, hips locking into place and skin that wouldn’t heal. As conditions worsened and the poisoning became deadly, dial painters took on the radium companies in lawsuits. Their legal action helped change the U.S.’s nascent workplace safety standards.

Up Next: Best and Worst Dangerous Jobs in America

© Shutterstock.com

More from GOBankingRates

GOBankingRates
GOBankingRates
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon