Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Trove Tuesday : Occupation Clicker

Doing some background research on brothers John and James Auld, bootmakers from Victoria, I came across the following article and was intrigued with the advertised occupation:

Source: Advertising. (1873, August 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5869315

What is a clicker?

My immediate thought was that the position involved counting of some description. To double check, a quick search in Trove, searching for "clicker boot making", revealed an extensive article published in the South Australian Register in 1870. An extract of the article detailing the work of the clicker follows:
In ordinary ' upper'-making the first process —that of cutting— falls to the lot of the clicker. His chief skill consists in so placing his plates as to economize the leather, avoiding flaws, and yet preventing waste. In this respect he is able to bid defiance to machinery.
Source: BOOT FACTORIES. (1870, June 18). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 3 Supplement: Supplement to the South Australian Register.. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39196950

So not only is the occupation not one of a counter, it is one of the most important jobs in the bootmaking industry. This skilled position invloved maximising the number of uppers cut from a sheet of leather and doing so whilst avoiding flaws and thin sections in the leather.