JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
One in a long list of tough jobs of the 19th century was that of the "trimmer". These guys would be in the holds of coal transport ships, in the recesses and odd spots, whose job it was to shovel the coal into those far regions that would be missed in the loading process to ensure that as much coal is hauled as possible and to secure a stable cargo. They would be in a tough position, probably not well lighted, doing heavy work, and breathing a lot of coal dust. It was far from "easy" work, though it was pretty important that this work was done.
But as I saw in a Scientific American Supplement article for May 26, 1877, even these jobs were being released to a higher technology. In this case, that tech-boundary wasn't so high. The solution in at least two cases of improved colliery loading was to make the hatches of the hold much larger so that coal could be distributed more evenly and reach all of those hard-to-reach spots. And so the trimmer would lose his job to gravity.
What I found most appealing though (as I slightly scared myself thinking about doing the actual work of a trimmer) was the cross section illustration for the article. On close examination it may well be the skin of a large mammal in a dry place, or a road map of some ancient place with no legends, or any number of other things. The big brace of black is simply a cross section of the coal in the hold, but it does have a certain Found-Outsider Art quality to it.