Vintage Life Hacks from 100 Years Ago


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 artFido’s personal favorites. Visit the NYPL Digital Collections to see them all.

1. How to kill a tree stump vintage-life-hacks-from-the-1900s-5 vintage-life-hacks-from-the-1900s-6

2. How to make a simple gate latch

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3. How to make corks fit

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4. How to treat sprains

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5. A hint when boiling potatoes

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6. How to make a fire extinguisher

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7. How to clean real lace

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8. How to make a water fountain for chicks

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9. How to adjust a door

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10. How to test butter

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11. How to cool wine without ice

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12. How to clean oil paintings

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13. How to Extract a Splinter

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14. How to treat squeaky boots



15. How to remove a tight ring from the finger

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16. How to carry a heavy jug

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17. How to clean bottles

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18. How to measure with coins

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19. How to clean new boots

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20. How to detect escaping gas



21. How to draw a circle without compasses

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22. How to keep a paint brush handle clean

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23. How to preserve valuable vases



24. How to take ink stains out of a handkerchief

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25. How to remove sea stains out of brown shoes

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26. How to boil cracked eggs

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27. To separate glass tumblers

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28. How to light a match in the wind

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29. How to fit a large candle

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30. How to tell the points of the compass with a watch

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31. How to revive cut flowers

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32. How to judge the freshness of a lobster

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33. Three useful knots

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34. How to stop a runaway horse

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And don’t forget, if you’re looking for a piece of original art to hang on your walls, check out artFido HERE!

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