10 Lifehacks from 100 Years Ago

From the 1880s to the 1940s, manufacturers put stiffening cards into cigarette packs, sometimes decorated with advertising, art, or trivia. A couple of companies put tips for better living on their cards (which are highly collectible now). Some of them are fascinating, like a tip for watering your houseplants while you're away:

"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."

That's a siphon, using capillary action. Genius! I wonder if it works… but at least it won't kill anyone to try it out, unlike the instructions for felling a tree, which ends with pulling a tree down with ropes. Read more of these at mental_floss. Link

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I second Edward's comment. I did it once a few years ago with a large water bottle and wide cotton shoelaces. I didn't try it beforehand and when I came back it was clear it had overflowed in the plants. I'm thinking it may have helped slightly if I hadn't had put the bottle so much higher than the pots... the extra help is unnecessary.
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