Back in the 1900s, cigarette manufactures used to insert stiffening cards into their paper cigarette packs to add strength and help them last longer. Along the way, someone had the bright idea of printing trivia, artwork and even famous people and athletes (Honus Wagner anyone?) onto the stiffening cards.

In the early 20th Century, Gallaher’s Cigarettes printed a special series of 100 “How to do it” cards that included some truly useful and helpful tips for everyday situations and problems. The entire 100 card collection is part of the New York Public Library’s George Arents Collection and was recently digitized.

Below you will find 40 of the Sifter’s personal favorites. Visit the NYPL Digital Collections to see them all.

#40. How to extract a Splinter.

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#39. How to light a match in the wind

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#38. How to tell the points of the compass with a watch

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#37. How to treat Sprains

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#36. How to make a Fire Extinguisher

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#35. How to carry a heavy jug



#34. A hint when boiling potatoes


#33. How to kill a tree stump