Vintage Life Hacks That Still Just As Useful Today

We love life hacks because they are always useful, but these are a little different.

They all come from Gallagher's Cigarette packets back in the early 1900s. Now, let's be clear about this - smoking is a dirty habit and we do not under any circumstances endorse it, but these tips are not about smoking.

They are, in fact, about all aspects of life and what makes them wonderful is that they all still work today. It shows that our grandparents' and their parents' generations had plenty to teach us. Check them out and see for yourself. We bet you'll be surprised!

1. How To Light A Match In The Wind

New York Public Library

"If thin shavings are first cut on the match towards its striking end, as shown in the picture, on lighting the match, the curled strips catch fire at once."

We tried it and it works.

2. How To Improve Your Lung Capacity

New York Library

"Stand erect on the balls of the feet, and with the head held well back. Then inhale deeply until the lung are fully inflated, gradually exhale, allowing the chest to sink first."

You're supposed to do this on a regular basis for it to show benefits.

3. How To Clean Up Broken Glass Safely

Digital Collections

"To pick up broken glass quickly and cleanly a soft damp cloth will be found to be most effective, for it takes up all the small splinters. The best plan is to use an old piece of rag that can be thrown away with the glass."

No more cut fingers for us!

4. The Easiest, Most Painless Way To Get Rid Of A Splinter

New York Library

"Fill a wide-mouthed bottle with hot water nearly to the brim, and press affected part of hand tightly against mouth of bottle. The suction will pull down the flesh, and steam will soon draw out the splinter."

This is real genius at work. We love it.


5. How To Cut Bread Into Thin Slices

New York Library

"Plunge the bread knife into hot water and when thoroughly hot wipe quickly. It will be found that the heated knife will cut soft, yielding new bread into the thinnest slices."

This gives much better results than you'd believe.

6. How To Revive Cut Flowers

New York Library

"Plunge the stems into hot water, and allow them to remain until the water has cooled. By that time the flowers will have revived. The ends of the stems should then be cut off and the blossoms placed in cold water the usual way."

If you like having flowers in the house, this is a great way to make them last longer.

7. How To Get A Cork Back Into A Bottle

New York Library

"Roll cork under sole of foot, exerting a steady pressure. This will be found to reduce the size of cork without injuring the smooth surface."

No more spoiled wine in our house!

8. How To Clean A Bottle Effectively

New York Library

"To clean the interior of bottles, a little sand and water should be well shaken about inside them. This will have the effect of cleansing every part, and the bottles can then be washed out and dried."

Basically, this takes advantage of sand's abrasive properties.

9. How To See The Wind

New York Library

"...take a long polished sheet of metal (a saw-blade will do) with a perfectly straight edge. Hold this at right angles to the wind, and inclined at an angle of 45 degrees, so that the wind, in striking the saw, glances over the edge."

Of course, we haven't worked out why you would need to do this, but it is clever.

10. How To Engrave Steel With A Feather

New York Library

"The steel to be worked upon should be covered completely with a coating of beeswax. The lettering or design to be engraved can then be drawn with the point of a clean quill pen. This lays bare the metal. A strong solution of sulphate of iron should then be repeatedly poured over the exposed surface for about ten minutes."

No way! But yes, it works.


11. How To Pour Easily From A Full Water Jug

Digital Collections

"The correct way to hold the jug is shown in the right-hand sketch. The prevents the weight from pulling the jug down and so spilling what it contains."

It certainly does make things easier, and you don't need amazing forearm strength, either.

12. How To Store Eggs Without A Refrigerator

New York Library

"Eggs for preserving must be new laid, and by simply putting these into a box or tin of dry salt and burying the eggs right in the salt and keeping in a cool dry place - it is possible to preserve them for a very long period."

Not so necessary nowadays, but this would have been very handy before refrigerators were cheap.

13. How To Move Flowers Using A Potato

New York Library

" excellent way to keep them from fading is to insert ends of stalks into small holes or slits cut in a raw potato. This will keep the flowers fresh for a week or more. The flowers should also be supported by paper or cotton-wool."

Yup, no expensive planters are required - you can move a flower using just a potato.

14. How To Kill A Tree Stump

New York Library

"Holes should be bored in top of stump, and a patch of bark cut from side and more holes bored there. A mixture of solignum and salt filled into these holes will soak through the tree stump and kill it."

You see, stumps don't die on their own; they need a little help.

15. The Back Of The Cards

New York Library

If you were wondering what the card backs looked like with these handy tips on them - this is it. 

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