A Knocker-up (sometimes known as a knocker-upper) was a profession in England and Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution, before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. A knocker-up would wake up very early (sometimes as early as 3:00 am) to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time. Usually, the knocker-up was male and most often used a long and light stick (often bamboo), with pieces of wire attached at the end - to reach windows on higher floors and wake their clients at whetever time their clients requested. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week for this job. The knocker-up would not leave a client's window until they were assured the client had been awoken. Knocker-ups usually worked in larger cities like London or Liverpool.

"Great Expectations", by Charles Dickens includes a brief descrition of a knocker-up."Hindle Wakes" a play written by Stanley Houghton and then a movie (of the same title) directed by Maurice Elvey, includes a knocker-up."Mary Smith", by Andrea U'Ren is a children's picture book based on the real Mary Smith a knocker-up.

Mrs. Molly Moore (daughter of Mrs. Mary Smith, also a knocker-up and the protagonist of a children's picture book aptly entitled "Mary Smith") claims to have been the last knocker-up to have been employed as such. Both Mary Smith and Molly Moore used a long rubber tube as a peashooter - to shoot dried peas at their client's windows.

Some knocker-ups worked freelance; their clients would either post the time they wished to be woken next to their doors, in their windows, or verbally, in advance. Some knocker-ups were employed by mills or larger factories to wake their large workforce on time.

Although the profession of knocker-ups became obsolete with the advent of readily available alarm clocks, the expression "knock up" is still used in Britain and Ireland to refer to waking someone at a set time in the morning, especially at a hotel. (Use of the phrase by British travellers in North America is a well-known gaffe, because "knock up" is also a Canadian slang term (occasionally used in the U.S. as well) meaning "to impregnate".)

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  • Knocker-up — (иногда употреблялось название knocker upper)  профессия[1] в Англии и Ирландии, возникшая во время промышленной революции и существовавшая до 1920 х годов. Работа knocker up состояла в том, чтобы утром будить людей на работу[2]. Для подачи… …   Википедия

  • Knocker — and knockers may refer to:* Door knocker * Knocker (folklore) * Knocker (radio series) * Female breasts …   Wikipedia

  • knocker — ► NOUN 1) an object hinged to a door and rapped by visitors to attract attention. 2) informal a person who buys or sells from door to door. 3) informal a person who continually finds fault. 4) (knockers) informal a woman s breasts. ● on the… …   English terms dictionary

  • knocker — knock er, n. 1. One who, or that which, knocks; specifically, an instrument, or kind of hammer, fastened to a door, to be used in seeking for admittance. [1913 Webster] Shut, shut the door, good John ! fatigued, I said; Tie up the knocker; say I… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • knocker — (n.) late 14c., agent noun from KNOCK (Cf. knock). Sense of door banger is by 1590s. Knockers a woman s breasts is slang attested from 1941 …   Etymology dictionary

  • knocker — [näk′ər] n. 1. a person or thing that knocks; specif., a) a small metal ring, hammer, etc. attached by a hinge to a door, for use in knocking for admittance ☆ b) Informal a faultfinder 2. Slang a breast usually used in pl.: a somewhat vulgar term …   English World dictionary

  • knocker — n. 1 a metal or wooden instrument hinged to a door for knocking to call attention. 2 a person or thing that knocks. 3 (in pl.) coarse sl. a woman s breasts. 4 a person who buys or sells door to door. Phrases and idioms: knocker up Brit. hist. a… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Knocker — Les Knockers, surnommés les « Frappeurs » ou « Cogneurs », son des nains du foklore minier en Écosse, Cornouaille (dans les mines d étain); Bohême (mines d argent) et au pays de Galles (dans les mines de charbon) Sommaire 1… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • knocker —    the penis    From the shape of a door knocker and punning on its sexual function:     Susie was a perfect fool for any chap with a big knocker. (Fraser, 1982) …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • knocker — UK [ˈnɒkə(r)] / US [ˈnɑkər] noun [countable] Word forms knocker : singular knocker plural knockers a piece of metal on a door that you use for knocking …   English dictionary

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