Early 1900s Life Hacks That Many People Still Swear By

If you were born within the past few decades, you probably don’t know how in your face cigarette advertising used to be. From ads on television, to vending machines in neighborhood restaurants, smoking was a much more visible part of everyday life in America. Heck, people even smoked on airplanes!

Back in the late 1800s, cigarette companies put a single card in their packets to keep the containers from bending. Gallaher’s Cigarettes turned their cards into fun collectible items, and in 1910, they started putting some tips on them that can seem pretty wild today…

1. Prevent your glasses from getting foggy: If glasses are rubbed daily with soap and well polished afterward, a very thin, invisible film of soap remains, which acts as a preventative measure against condensation.

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2. Keep flies away from your trash can: It’s been found that a small amount of ordinary Borax sprinkled daily in your trashcan, which is one of their favorite haunts, will put a stop to the breeding.

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3. Make shoes fit like a dream: A pair of loose shoes can be made to fit comfortably by fixing a piece of velvet inside the heel, as shown in the picture. But keep in mind, to work efficiently, the velvet cannot have any wrinkles in it.

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4. How to properly carry a jug: The correct way to hold the jug is shown in the right-hand sketch. Placing a thumb in the opening prevents the weight from pulling the jug down and spilling what it contains.

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5. How to bandage a foot: Bandage the foot in the manner shown by the lower diagram. Go over and around the back of the foot in a spiral fashion, and eventually fasten it with a safety pin just beneath the ankle.

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6. Helping a sprained ankle: Elevate the injured joint and wrap it in cold damp cloths. Place one end of a cloth in a jug of water and rest the other end on the wrapped joint. The water will pass from jug to compress by way of the linen strip.

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7. Clean an oil painting with a raw potato: Dust the painting first, then rub it gently with the flat surface of a cut raw potato. The dirty part of the potato must be constantly pared off to ensure efficient cleaning. Finish off with a rub of pure linseed oil.

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8. Cut the perfect slice of bread every single time: Plunge the bread knife into hot water and when thoroughly hot, wipe quickly. The heated knife will cut soft, yielding new bread into the thinnest slices.

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9. Weigh down your vases to prevent them from toppling: Partly fill the vase with sand, which keeps it upright and firm on its base. This method works particularly well in vases that are top-heavy.

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10. Clean up glass safely and efficiently: To pick up broken glass quickly and cleanly, a soft damp cloth is most effective, for it takes up the small splinters. The best plan is to use an old rag that can be thrown away with the glass.

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11. Help if you’ve got a ring stuck on your finger: To remove a tight ring from the finger, the finger should first be well lathered with soap. Unless the joints are swollen, the ring should easily side off. If they are swollen, visit a jeweler.

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12. Increase your lung capacity: Stand on the balls of the feet with the head held well back. Inhale deeply until the lungs are fully inflated, then gradually exhale. Repeat exercise several times both morning and evening.”

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13. Figure out if a lobster is really fresh: Simply pull back the tail and release it. If the tail flies back with a snap, the lobster is quite fresh, but if it goes back slowly, you can be pretty sure the lobster has been boiled and kept for some days.

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14. Don’t throw away that cracked egg: To boil cracked eggs as though they were undamaged, a little vinegar should be added to the water. If this is done, you’ll find that none of the contents will boil out.

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15. Get stuck glasses apart in a jiffy: When two glass tumblers stick together, there is a danger of breakage in trying to separate them. So, put cold water in the upper one and place the lower one in warm water. They’ll separate at once.

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16. Determine your hotel bed’s dampness: To detect dampness in a hotel bed, a small hand mirror should be slipped between the sheets and left for a few minutes. Any moistness or blurred appearance on the mirror’s surface when withdrawn means it’s damp.

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17. Draw a perfect ellipse: After the size of the ellipse has been determined, measure off the short diameter (width of the ellipse) from the ends of the long diameter (length). Two pins should be fixed and string looped ’round as shown.

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18. The safe way to remove a long nail: It is often rather difficult to pull out a long nail from wood because of a lack of leverage. If, however, a small block of wood is placed under the pincers, the nail can be pulled right out.

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19. Make your own gate latch: The picture gives the shape of a latch that does not allow the gate to swing open. When screwed to the gate post, the latch will swing into position to secure the gate, with the greatest weight of the latch beneath the screw pivot.

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20. How to use your watch as a compass: Point the hour hand at the sun and then lay a piece of wire or blade of grass crosswise between the hour hand and the number 12. The end of the wire between the hour hand and the 12 points south.

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These nearly-ancient life hacks paved the way for society’s modern, and absolutely ridiculous, hacks. Perhaps you need to dry your pants but don’t have access to a laundry dryer. Give a hair dryer a whirl! This smarty pants used books to streamline it into a hands-free task.

The Sun

2. Don’t throw those plastic hangers away! Keep a few in the back of your closet. They transition easily into thrifty selfie sticks. The bird’s eye view is the most flattering after all.

The Sun

3. Rattan furniture is timeless, but it can break the bank. These steampunk style chairs make perfect patio furniture. Using tires and some yellow paint, you can make a one-of-a-kind design without sacrificing comfort.

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4. After spending all that cash on a new LED screen, swap in the old bulky dinosaur tube for a coffee table! Some may not see the potential of this kitsch repurposing, but others will delight in the ingenuity.

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5. S’more for the crowd! Yeah, a stick gets the job done, but why not speed up the process? Clean off a rake, and roast your tasty treats for the whole crew at the same time.

Country Music Nation

6. How often do you use an ironing board anyway? When you’re deep in a musical headspace, you’ve got to act fast before inspiration slips away. With a bit of tape, a hands-free mic stand can be fashioned in seconds. Plus, it’s economical.

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7. Got a time-sensitive project and no three hole punch? In that frantic rush before the big deadline, get creative! A drill can get the job done, but maybe try a smaller screw than this guy.

The Sun

8. What could be more practical than an actual fire to turn your chilly pool into a three-season hot tub? All that’s needed is a wooden pallet, a metal trash can, and a large enough pool to avoid the flames. Enjoy your soak!

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9. Forgetting a vital utensil for an outdoor picnic happens to the best of us. A saw, or a pocket knife, double as a crude breadknife. The best solutions stem from an adaptive attitude.

The Sun

10. Radiators are built-in food warmers. Keep the table clear for the cold dishes during the holiday mania. That way everyone can enjoy a warm meal no matter when they get a moment to relax.

The Sun

11. The last thing a hardworking laborer needs to worry about is a place to rest his weary bones. Next time you’re working outdoors, grab a wheelbarrow chair. Ditch the bucket. This guy opted for back support.

The Sun

12. “Lego” of that knife! Rest it carefully in a playful Lego knife block! An easy way to repurpose some old toys is to reincorporate them as decor. Plus, it’s a conversation starter.

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13. Admit it. The idyllic dream of a white picket fence never seemed so possible. Cutting a door might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with a bit of paint and a vintage doorknob, possibilities emerge.

The Sun

14. Problem-solving doesn’t stop when you leave your house. This character brainstormed a simple solution to an immediate dilemma. A stack of hardcover books makes for a sturdy temporary seat.

Daily Mail

15. Rollerblades can break the bank and honestly, who knows how fleeting your skating ambitions will be. Use the master fixer — good ole’ duct tape — to strap on some wheels to a pair of sensible boots. Voila! Speed skater!

Daily Mail

16. Spending money on children’s furniture is a headache because right after it’s purchased, the kids outgrow it. Extend table legs with wood or bed risers during that growth spurt. An added bonus: take the wheels off an old table and reuse them for rollerblades!

Daily Mail

17. No bowl? No problem! Sometimes a solution lies nearer than you think. Just use the plastic lining of the cereal bag as a makeshift eating vessel. Come on, you wanted a few bowls anyway!

The Sun

18. Wands aren’t only for magic! Mere muggles can give them an alternative purpose. They’re quite useful in accessing hard to reach places. Bonus uses: pointers, propping open windows, and twirling batons.

The Sun

19. What’s better than repurposing what you already have? This homeowner used a satellite dish for a dual purpose rather than paying for a basketball hoop that could potentially tip over. Warning: shots off the backboard could disrupt your signal.

20. Can’t get to the auto shop straight away? There’s a solution. Side mirrors are essential for safe driving, so instead of taking a risk, use any reflective surface in the meantime. It isn’t a long term fix, but it can save you in a jam.

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