08 March 2010

A "knocker-upper" at work

The Knocker-Up (also referred to as a Knocker-Upper) gained prominence during the Industrial Revolution by using a long stick with wire or a knob affixed to the end to rouse customers at a desired time. Clients would agree verbally, in advance, or simply post a preferred time on doors or windows. For a few pence a week, clients could rest assured knowing their Knocker Upper would not leave until he (Knocker Ups were almost always men) was certain a person was awake. Larger Factories and Mills often employed their own Knocker Ups to ensure laborers made it to work on time.
Found at a Mental Floss article about how people woke up in the days before alarm clocks.


  1. A very interested article, as one would come to expect from Mental_Floss. And yet, I believe 'up' is a post-positive, and as such I'm inclined to think that rather than "knocker-ups," the plural should be "knockers-up," as in "passers-by."


  2. There's a Mike Harding sketch from the 1970s about the confusion caused by telling Americans that a man wi'a ten foot pole comes knock you up in the morning!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...