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Putting 100-year-old life hacks to the test

May 19, 2017

Finding quick and clever solutions to household problems is nothing new. Tips and tricks are often passed from one generation to the next.

Looking for a way to light a match in the wind or make your own water filter? Do you need to keep your plants watered while you are away or painlessly remove a splinter? Sounds like you need a life hack. Finding quick and clever solutions to household problems is nothing new. Tips and tricks are often passed from one generation to the next and even printed on cigarette cards.

According to Theresa Oneill for The Week: "In the late 1880s, cigarette manufacturers began inserting stiffening cards into their paper packs of cigarettes to strengthen the containers. It wasn't long before they got the idea to put artwork, trivia, famous people, and pretty girls onto those cards, grouped into collectible series. The cards, which continued into the 1940s, are highly valuable now, with the most expensive (bearing the face of stringent anti-smoking baseball player Honus Wagner) selling for $2.8 million in 2007.

In the 1910s, Gallaher Ltd of Belfast & London and Ogden's Branch of the Imperial Tobacco Co printed 'How-To' series, with clever hints for both everyday and emergency situations. From steaming out a splinter to stopping a mad dog, these cigarette cards told you the smart way to handle many of life's problems."

According to Avery Thompson for Popular Mechanics: "Youtuber Household Hacker recently got his hands on a number of lifehacks from 1916 and decided to test them out to see if they still work 100 years later. Although some of them had to be modified slightly in order to remain relevant, they all still generally hold up.

These tips run the gamut from DIY tips on how to remove long nails from wood, create a makeshift level, and measure lengths without a ruler to domestic tips like getting stains out of a shirt, easily polishing a boot, or quickly cooling a drink. All of these tips are time-tested as well as tested by the Household Hacker, and every one holds up well."

To learn more, read "How Well Do 100-Year-Old Lifehacks Hold Up?" from Popular Mechanics and "Cigarette cards: The life hacks of 100 years ago" from The Week.

About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

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