40 Vintage Life Hacks from 100 Years Ago

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Back in the 1900s, cigarette manufactures used to insert stiffening cards into their paper cigarette packs to add strength and help them last longer. Along the way, someone had the bright idea of printing trivia, artwork and even famous people and athletes (Honus Wagner anyone?) onto the stiffening cards.

In the early 20th Century, Gallaher’s Cigarettes printed a special series of 100 “How to do it” cards that included some truly useful and helpful tips for everyday situations and problems. The entire 100 card collection is part of the New York Public Library’s George Arents Collection and was recently digitized.

Below you will find 40 of the Sifter’s personal favorites. Visit the NYPL Digital Collections to see them all.

 

 

1. How to Extract a Splinter

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (29)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (30)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

2. How to Light a Match in the Wind

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (67)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (68)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

3. How to Tell the Points of the Compass with a Watch

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (71)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (72)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

4. How To Treat Sprains

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (11)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (12)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

5. How To Make a Fire Extinguisher

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (15)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (16)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

6. How To Carry a Heavy Jug

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (35)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (36)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

7. A Hint When Boiling Potatoes

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (13)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (14)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

8. How To Kill a Tree Stump

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (5)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (6)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

9. How To Make Corks Fit

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (9)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (10)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

10. How To Pull Out Long Nails

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (1)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (2)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

11. How To Measure With Coins

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (39)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (40)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

12. How To Detect Escaping Gas

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (45)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (46)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

13. How To Cool Wine with Ice

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (25)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (26)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

14. When Boiling Cracked Eggs

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (63)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (64)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

15. How To Preserve Valuable Vases

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (53)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (54)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

16. How To Remove Sea Stains from Brown Shoes

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (61)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (62)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

17. How To Make a Simple Gate Latch

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (7)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (8)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

18. How To Clean an Oil Painting

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (27)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (28)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

19. How To Test Butter

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (23)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (24)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

20. How To Draw a Circle Without a Compass

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (47)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (48)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

21. How To Clean Real Lace

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (17)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (18)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

22. How To Revive Cut Flowers

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (73)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (74)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

23. How To Judge the Freshness of a Lobster

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (75)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (76)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

24. How To Make a Water Fountain for Chicks

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (19)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (20)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

25. How To Treat Squeaky Boots

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (31)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (32)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

26. How To Adjust a Door

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (21)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (22)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

27. How To Cut New Bread Into Thin Slices

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (43)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (44)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

28. How To Remove a Stuck Glass Stopper

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (55)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (56)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

29. How To Detect Dampness in Beds

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (3)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (4)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

30. How To Draw an Ellipse with String

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (51)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (52)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

31. How To Pick Up Broken Glass

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (59)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (60)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

32. How To Stop a Runaway Horse

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (79)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (80)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

33. How To Clean New Boots

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (41)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (42)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

34. How To Remove a Tight Ring from the Finger

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (33)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (34)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

35. How To Keep a Paint Brush Handle Clean

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (49)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (50)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

36. How To Take Ink Stains Out a Handkerchief

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (57)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (58)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

37. How To Fit a Large Candle

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (69)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (70)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

38. How To Clean Bottles

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (37)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (38)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

39. Three Useful Knots

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (77)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (78)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

 

 

40. How To Separate Glass Tumblers

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (65)

vintage life hacks from the 1900s (66)

George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

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