Dec 12, 2014

Wordology, Lector

The word ‘lector’ usually makes us think of university lecturers and public speakers, but in the 1900s, a lector was actually a form of entertainment. A factory lector was employed to entertain workers in cigar factories by reading out loud, usually newspapers and sometimes novels. The profession started in Cuba, later becoming more prominent in New York and Florida.

Life in a cigar factory was mostly manual labor, such as rolling cigars by hand, so the lectors proved to be good for the morale of workers. The employees would pool money together to help pay the lector’s salary. Lectors had a huge influence on the workers, providing an education for them through their reading. Lectors were eventually replaced by radios during the 1920’s.