It’s amazing how much wisdom has been lost to the ages. There are so many simple life hacks that used to be common knowledge. In this video, Household Hacker tries out some life hack inserts that were printed over 100 years ago in 1916.
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These inserts are cards that were sold with packs of cigarettes. There are hundreds of them out there, but this video focuses on seven. The first card is about…
1. How To Pull Out Long Nails
The card says, “It is often rather difficult to pull out a long nail from wood into which it has been driven, for when drawn out a short distance, there is no purchase from which to pull it further. If, however, a small block of wood be placed under the pincers, the nail can be pulled right out without difficulty.
Don’t you just love the way they used to avoid dangling prepositions? Anyway, I already knew that one, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t. The next card is about…
2. How to Take Ink Stains Out of a Handkerchief
The card says, “A fine linen handkerchief which has had the misfortunate to become stained with ink can be restored to its original spotlessness. When the accident occurs, the handkerchief should at once be plunged into milk. After soaking for some time it will be found that the ink stains have disappeared.”
I can’t believe I never heard this tip before! It’s simple and effective. The next card is about…
3. How to Cut New Bread into Thin Slices
The card says, “The difficulty of cutting new bread into thin slices can be readily be overcome by the following expedient. 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.”
Of course, this trick was used before the modern bread knife was invented. But if you don’t have one, this is a great hack to know. The next card is about…
4. How to Clean New Boots
The card says, “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.”
This one makes sense to me as lemons have many applications, especially when it comes to cleaning. The next card is about…
5. How to Pack Choice Flowers
The card says, “When sending choice flowers a long journey by post or otherwise, an 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.”
Most people know to put flowers in water to make them last longer, but if you can’t do that, potatoes are a great alternative. The next card is about…
6. How to Measure With Coins
The card says, “It is sometimes useful to know that half-a-crown equals half an ounce in 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.”
The material used to make coins has changed since then, so the weight isn’t accurate. However, a penny equals exactly 3/4 of an inch, which means 4 pennies is 3 inches and 16 pennies is 1 foot. The next card is about…
7. How to Make a Spirit Level
The card says, “This useful instrument can be made by the exercise of a little care and accuracy in the construction of the box and top of the level shown in the picture. The glass tube should be perfectly true, corked at each end, and filled with enough water or spirit to leave a bubble of air. The ends of the tube are fixed in the box by sealing wax, which should cover them over and thus prevent any loss of liquid by evaporation.”
The general idea is good but overly complicated. Instead, just use a glass or plastic bottle with a label on it. Get the liquid down to where it’s even with the bottom of the label, then use the bottle to check if something is level.
If any of these old life hacks confused you, watch the video below to see them demonstrated.