100-Year-Old Life Hacks That Are Surprisingly Useful Today

People don’t often look back on the early 1900’s for advice, but what if we could actually learn something from the Lost Generation? The New York Public Library has digitized 100 “how to do it” cards found in cigarette boxes over 100 years ago, and the tips they give are so practical that millennials reading this might want to take notes.

Back in the day, cigarette cards were popular collectibles included in every pack, and displayed photos of celebrities, advertisements, and more. Gallaher cigarettes, a UK-founded tobacco company that was once the largest in the world, decided to print a series of helpful how-to’s on their cards, which ranged from mundane tasks (boiling potatoes) to unlikely scenarios (stopping a runaway horse). Most of them are insanely clever, though, like how to make a fire extinguisher at home. Who even knew you could do that?

The entire set of life hacks is now part of the NYPL’s George Arents Collection. Check out some of the cleverest ones we could find below. You never know when you’ll have to clean real lace!

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