100-Year-Old “Life Hacks” Found On Vintage Cigarette Cards

Published April 27, 2017
Updated April 28, 2017
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100-Year-Old “Life Hacks” Found On Vintage Cigarette Cards
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In the 1910s, the United Kingdom's Gallaher brand cigarettes gave smokers a little something extra in each pack: proto-"life hacks" on pack-stiffening cigarette cards, complete with gorgeous, full-color illustrations.

Want to know how to preserve fall leaves? Gallaher has you covered — as long as you can get your hands on spermaceti, a waxy substance generated by sperm whales.

Having trouble slicing new bread (since the pre-sliced variety wouldn't emerge for more than a decade)? Hot water is a knife's best friend.

Looking for a frivolous new doodle for the margins of your college textbooks? Gallaher has a discrete method sure to impress your lab partner (and fool the professor that you're taking copious notes).

Remarkably, many of the "hacks" like these -- and which appear in the gallery above -- have actually aged extraordinarily well. Others -- most notably the lung-strengthening exercise advice from a cigarette manufacturer -- seem quaint at best and downright dangerous at worst. If you choose to listen to 100-year-old advice from a yellowing cigarette card, please, proceed with caution.


Love the aesthetic of cigarette cards? Go back to the 1880s and check out a curious way that another manufacturer tried to sell more smokes. Craving more life hacks? Check out seven sure to improve your day-to-day.

Kellen Perry
Kellen Perry writes about television, history, music, art, video games, and food for ATI, Grunge, Ranker, Ranker Insights, and anyone else that will have him.
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