This isn’t a reference to sleep or death. Sand used to be used to help dry the ink on letters. A dusting of fine sand could be used to keep the ink from blotting, drying it quickly. However, the finest sand for this job couldn’t just be taken from the garden. A man actually sold it door to door. Now, ballpoint pens are used when one writes a letter at all. More often, an email is sent. No need for the sandman.
When building a house, it was necessary to obtain wood. This was true of building furniture, fencing, barrows and wagons. If you need wood, you could go to a sawyer. These men worked over pits, sawing wood as it was needed. However, thanks to electric saws and machines that can pre-cut wood to different lengths, all you need to do is head to the home improvement store—and sawyers are out of jobs.
Manual Part Loading
It used to be that workers were needed to man the assembly lines at car manufacturers. Manual part loading was the job when cars were assembled in large part by hand. Each worker loaded one particular part into the car. Now, though, robotic arms do most of the work when it comes to part loading.
Back in the day when coal mining was relatively new and widespread—and less automated—there was the need for sorters to go through and get rid of the debris that wasn’t coal. Additionally, it was necessary for the coal to be broken down into usable sizes. The job was often done by boys. With child labor laws being enacted, and with increased automation, this job became extinct.