These 45 Life Hacks From 100 Years Ago Are Useful Even Today
Human creativity has helped man survive for thousands of years. Wits and resourcefulness were the main keys to improve our way of life and bring comfort in times of need. The following life hacks are a testimony to human ingenuity. They stood the test of time and some of these can be useful even today.
I first heard about Gallaher Cigarettes from my grandfather, and he was the one who showed me the stiffening cards he kept from his younger years. After finding out about the debate of inserting graphic images depicting the health consequences of smoking on U.S. cigarette packs, he told me about what they got back in the day. Although the cards were inserted into the cigarette packs to strengthen the containers, they also had an alternative use. They would also teach people how to make their life easier with minimal effort.
Some of these tips are useful even today, and I’ll let you decide which life hacks work for you. Just keep in mind that these cards were printed more than 100 years ago when safety wasn’t a big concern as it is today. That being said, some of these are either obsolete or are exactly how they’re still done today. Be careful when trying them and have some common sense.
45 Life hacks from 100 years ago you can use even today
How To Fell A Tree
“Have decided which side you wish the tree to fall, cut alternatively a downward and inward cut as shown. When about half through, proceed to cut the other side a few inches higher, and finally pull tree down by means of ropes.”
How To Judge The Height Of A Tower, Tree, etc.
“Pace a distance of about ten yards from the object and plant your staff at point B. Pace on until the staff is in a line with the object at point C, so that C, D and E form a straight line. The distance A to C is to A, E (the height of the object), as B to C is to B,D the height of staff.”
How To Kill A Tree Stump
“If a tree stump is not removed from the ground, it often starts sprouting and strong undergrowth results. The Prevent this, holes should be bored in top of stump and 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.”
How To Pull Out Long Nails
“It is often rather difficult to pull out a long nail from wood in which it has been driven, for when drawn out a short distance as in A, there is no purchase from which to pull it further. If, however a small block of wood be placed under the pincer as in B, the nail can be pulled right out without difficulty.
How To Secure Loose Hammer And Axe Heads
“A good way to fasten the head of a hammer or axe. After wedging the handle of the hammer as tightly as possible, drill two holes in the end of wood and drive in two large screws. An axe-head can be secured by boring a hole through the haft just below the head, and wiring through the hole an over top. The wire should finally be twisted and a stable driven in to hold in position.”
How To Extract A splinter
“A splinter embedded in the hand is often very painful to extract. A good way to accomplish this is to 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.”
How To Light A Match In The Wind
“The familiar difficulty of lighting a match in a wind can be to a great extent overcome 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, the flame is stronger and has a better chance.”
How To Light A Fire Without Wood
“When lighting the fire, it may be you have no wood to kindle the coals with. A good substitute is to use piece of paper screwed into twists as the picture shows. Two or three sheets of newspapers are quite sufficient to start a judiciously built coal fire.”
How To Use Up Coal Dust
“An economical way to treat coal dust, and to make same into bricks of fuel, is to mix the dust with salt (about a handful of slat to each shovelful of coal dust) , add water and stir to a stiff paste, and mould the bricks in an old tin box, afterwards placing on a board or shelf to dry.”
Three Useful Knots
“No.1 is the Timber Hitch, which is especially useful in lifting all kinds of heavy work, such as huge beams, etc. No. 2 is the Fisherman’s Knot, shows a good method of joining two ropes tightly together. No. 3 is the famous Clove Hitch, which becomes tighter the harder it is pulled.”
How To Judge The Weather
“The traveller, setting off in the early morning, will find a fairly sure guide as to the weather he is likely to encounter by watching a very small distant cloud. If the cloud grows gradually larger, then unsettled rainy weather will probably come. But if the cloud decreases in size, the day should be a fine one.”
How To Make A Scout’s Tent
“A scout’s tent is composed of 6 Scout’s poles, 2 at the top lashed together, and 2 each end for supports. The covering is formed by joining together 4 squares of canvas, 2 each side. Other squares can be spread on the ground serving as a sheet.”
What To Do In A Thunderstorm
“It is not easy to point out what to do in a thunderstorm. The natural instinct which would bit us shelter under a tree is in this case a most dangerous one as all objects which stand at all above their surroundings are liable to attract the lighting. It is safest to make for a ditch on low ground covered by low growing bushes, no one of which stand higher than the other.”
How To Tell Points Of Compass With A Watch
“To determine the points of a the compass by means of your watch, point your hand at the sun and then lay a piece of wire or a blade of grass crosswise between the hour hand and the figure twelve. The end of the wire between the twelve and the hour hand points due south.”
How to Make A Simple Gate Latch
“A loose gate latch of the ordinary shape generally allows gate to swing open. The picture gives shape of a latch which does away with this. When screwed to gate post, this latch will be found to swing in position to secure gate, as the greatest weight of latch is beneath screw pivot.”
How To Detect Escaping Gas
“There is always a danger in trying to locate an escape of gas with a light. The method shown in the picture, however, is free from risk and quite reliable. Paint strong soap solution on the suspected length of pipe and the gas will then cause bubbles at the escaping point, which can be dealt with at once.”
How To Save Gas On The Gas Stove
“Get a piece of sheet-iron large enough to cover the top of the stove. You will then find that enough heat can be diffused throughout it to cook a whole dinner. The saucepan needing the greatest heat should be placed directly over the burner, where the sheet-iron is the hottest”
How To Make A Fire Extinguisher
“Dissolve one pound of salt and half pound of sal-ammoniac in two quarts of water and bottle the liquor in thin glass bottles holding about a quart each. Should a fire break out, dash one or more of the bottles into the flames, and any serious outbreak will probably be averted.”
How To Pick Broken Glass
“To pick up broken glass quickly and cleanly a soft damp cloth will be found to be most effective, for it take up all the small splinters. The best plan is to use an old piece of rag that can be thrown away with the glass.”
How To Measure With Coins
“It is sometimes useful to know that half-a-crown equals half an ounce in weight, and there pennies weight, and three pennies weigh one ounce. A half-penny measures one inch in diameter; half-crown an inch and a quarter, and a sixpence three-quarters of an inch in diameter.”
How To Prevent Eye-glasses Steaming
“The moisture which collects on eye-glasses causes a great deal of trouble, but if the glasses are daily rubbed with soap and well-polished afterwards, a very thin invisible film of soap remains, which has the effect of preventing condensation of moisture on the glasses”
How To Purify Water In Cistern
“To give freshness of spring water to water in a cistern, all that is necessary is to stir in a tablespoonful of powdered alum. After a few hours the water will be found to be quite fresh and pure. A tablespoonful or half an ounce of alum will purify from sixteen to twenty gallons of water.”
How To Make A Water Filter
“A most handy and efficacious filter can be made out of an ordinary perfectly clean zinc water pail, through the bottom of which a hole has been drilled and a small pipe fitted. The water percolates through the layers of fine and coarse sand, and clean picked gravel and stones, with which the pail is filled, filtering through to the bottom in a clear state.”
How To Clean Bottles
“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.”
How To Make Good Polish
“A spending polish can be made for pictures, mirrors, pianos, floors, etc., by mixing in a bottle equal parts of vinegar and paraffin. Cork and keep for use. A few drops of oil of lavender will give the polish a pleasant smell, and make it doubly effective in keeping away the flies. “
How To Clean New Boots
“New boots are sometimes very difficult to polish. A successful method is to rub the boots over with half a lemon, allow them to dry, after which they will easily polish, although occasionally it may be found necessary to repeat the application of the lemon juice”
How To Prevent Colours Running
“To prevent colours in household linen from running and staining other linen when washed together, coloured things should first be stepped in a solution of salt water. A double handful of salt to a gallon of water is a good proportion, and coloured things should be left to soak in this for about twenty-four hours.”
How To Get Rid of Flies
“Flies spread all sorts of diseases and it is essential to keep them down. As the result of experiments it has been found that a small amount of ordinary borax sprinkled daily on the dustbin, which is one of their favorite haunts, will put a stop to the breeding of them in this undesirable germ-producing spot.”
How To Make Water Fountain For Chicks
“A simple water fountain, ensuring a supply of fresh water for the chickens, can be made from a pint wine bottle, supported by a wire loops to a wooden upright as shown the bottle being held inverted over an earthern-ware pan, with mouth of bottle about half an inch above bottom of pan.”
Keeping Plants Watered
“Fill a large pail with water, and stand it a little above the level of the plants and group round or near as many plants as practical. Loosely plait two or three strands of wool together, immerse completely in water, and place one end in the pail, weighted, and touching the bottom. Rest the other end on the soil: a separate plait of wool is advisable for each pot.”
A Hint When Boiling Potatoes
“To make potatoes dry and floury when cooked add to water when boiling them a pinch of sugar as well as salt. When potatoes are done, water should be poured away and saucepan replaced over the fire for a short time, shaking the saucepan occasionally to ensure equal dryness of potatoes.”
How To Preserve Eggs
“Eggs for preserving must be new laid, and by simply putting these into a box or tin of dry salt – burying the eggs right in the salt and keeping them in a cool dry place – it is possible to preserve them for a very long period. No air whatever must be allowed to get at the shells.”
Tip When Boiling Cracked Eggs
“To boil cracked eggs as satisfactorily as though they were undamaged, a little vinegar should be added to the water. If this is done, it will be found that none of the contents will boil out.”
How To Test Butter
“A good way of testing butter is shown in the picture. Rub a little of the suspected compound upon a piece of paper and set the paper alight. If it is pure butter, the odour will be dainty and agreeable, while the presence of Margarine is made known by an unpleasant tallow smell”
How To Stop A Mad Dog
“A scout’s staff, a walking-stick, or even a handkerchief or hat may be held before you as shown. The dog invariably endeavours to paw down your defense before biting, thus giving you the opportunity of disabling him by a kick.”
How To Treat Bite Of Animal
“A tight ligature should be placed round the limb between the wound and the body. Thoroughly cleanse the wound, and if there is any suspicion of madness in the attacking animal the place should be well sucked and cauterized with caustic or a white hot iron, after cutting away the surrounding flesh with a sharp clean knife. Stimulant should be given to the patient. Send for doctor.”
How To Remove Foreign Particles From The Eye
“The danger of having a particle of something in the eye can be quickly got over if sweet or castor oil is dropped into the corner of eye. Picture shows a ready method of allowing drop of oil to fall into eye from the point of a paint brush. If the particle is of mortar or lime, bathe eye with weak vinegar and water.”
How To Remove A Tight Ring From The Finger
“To remove a tight ring from the finger witouth pain or trouble, the finger should be first well lathered with soap. It will then be found that, unless the joints are swollen the ring can easily be taken off. If however, the finger and joints are much swollen, a visit to the jeweler is advisable.”
How To Cure ChilBlains
“A simple and homely remedy, which immediately relieves the irritation and pain caused by chilblains, is salt and apple juice. The affected parts are rubbed gently with a slice of apple dipped in common salt. A good juicy apple should be used.”
How To Bandage An Injured Foot
“Rest injured foot on operator’s knee on clear towel. Commence bandaging in manner shown by the lower diagram, the bandage being bound over and round the back of foot in spiral fashion, and eventually affixed by means of a safety pin, just beneath angle, as shown in upper illustration.”
How To Treat Sprains
“Elevate the injured joint and wrap in cloths wrung out in cold water. The picture shows how to keep the cloths constantly wet without having to change them. A jug of water placed higher than the injured limb, and a strip of linen with one end in the jug and the other end resting upon the wrapping of sprained joint, is all that is necessary. The water will pass from jug to compress by way of linen strip. Give a rubbing with oil or liniment as sprain gets better.”
How To Treat A Broken Collar-Bone
“To treat a broken collar-bone place a pad, such as a couple of handkerchiefs, or a rolled up bunch of grass or fern in the armpit and apply a sling as shown. Then tie a broad fold round the chest so as to keep the arm on the injured side fixed to the side. “
Fracture Of Thigh
“A long splint such as a broom handle or Scout pole should be place along the outside of the body from the armpit to the foot. This should be firmly tied by various bandages as shown in the illustration, after which the legs should be tied together, which will keep the injured limb as rigid as possible, until the surgeon’s aid is obtained.”
Fracture Of The Leg
“In the case of a fractured leg the rough ends of the bone can be felt if the hand is passed gently along the limb. First aid consists of applying a splint to the outside of the leg and another to the inside, tying them firmly to it, and then tying the legs together. “
Rescue From Drowning
“Provided the drowning person does not struggle, turn him on his back, place your hand on either side of his face. Then turn on your back, hold him in front of you, and swim with the back stroke taking care to keep his face above the surface of the water. Remember that it is most important to keep the face of the drowning person above the surface of the water.”
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