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Seriously, Read This! 40 Vintage Life Hacks from 100 Years Ago THEY SO WORK!

Sam Dickson

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

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

2. How to Light a Match in the Wind

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

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

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

4. How To Treat Sprains

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

5. How To Make a Fire Extinguisher

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

6. How To Carry a Heavy Jug

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

7. A Hint When Boiling Potatoes

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

8. How To Kill a Tree Stump

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

9. How To Make Corks Fit

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

10. How To Pull Out Long Nails

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

11. How To Measure With Coins

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

12. How To Detect Escaping Gas

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

13. How To Cool Wine with Ice

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

14. When Boiling Cracked Eggs

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

15. How To Preserve Valuable Vases

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

16. How To Remove Sea Stains from Brown Shoes

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

17. How To Make a Simple Gate Latch

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

18. How To Clean an Oil Painting

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

19. How To Test Butter

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

20. How To Draw a Circle Without a Compass

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

21. How To Clean Real Lace

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

22. How To Revive Cut Flowers

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

23. How To Judge the Freshness of a Lobster

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

24. How To Make a Water Fountain for Chicks

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

25. How To Treat Squeaky Boots

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

26. How To Adjust a Door

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

27. How To Cut New Bread Into Thin Slices

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

28. How To Remove a Stuck Glass Stopper

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

29. How To Detect Dampness in Beds

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

30. How To Draw an Ellipse with String

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

31. How To Pick Up Broken Glass

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

32. How To Stop a Runaway Horse

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

33. How To Clean New Boots

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

34. How To Remove a Tight Ring from the Finger

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

35. How To Keep a Paint Brush Handle Clean

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

36. How To Take Ink Stains Out a Handkerchief

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

37. How To Fit a Large Candle

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

38. How To Clean Bottles

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

39. Three Useful Knots

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

40. How To Separate Glass Tumblers

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library

Sources 1,2,3