Vintage Trade Card Tips That Are Still Useful Today

From home repairs, to turning nasty tasting water into fresh spring water; from how to deal with cracked eggs, to heal that awful red eye, these vintage trade card tips seem to have a remedy for all.Trade cards used to be a big thing during the Victorian era. People of all ages collected and pasted them into their scrapbooks. What was so special about them, you might ask.




Well, back then, in the late 1900s trade cards served to advertise businesses and services. The smart business owners added them to their brand items. Kind of like the little toys in the cereal boxes. Only instead of toys, they contained small cards with beautiful, colorful pictures on them. Just perfect to turn them into collectors items, and boost the sale. But one British cigarette company took it even a step further.

Trade cards used to be added to cigarette packs as stiff cards. Which kept the soft packs from crumbling. Instead of just using pretty pictures, Gallaher’s cigarettes added useful “how to” tips to the back of their cards. The cigarette sales was booming, because everybody wanted to have those cards. And you are about to see why. And while many of you will find these vintage trade card tips useful, most of you will certainly find them to be a joy to read.

Gallaher’s vintage trade card tips

Purify the water in the cistern

Wouldn’t it be nice to have drinking water that tastes like fresh spring water? How to do it: “To give the freshness of spring water to water in a cistern, all that is necessary is to stir in a tablespoon full of powdered alum. After a few hours the water will be quite fresh and pure. A tablespoon or half an ounce of alum purifies from 16 to 20 gallons of water”.
vintage trade card

Water fountain for chicks

All birds need access to fresh and clean water. Your chicks will appreciate it by laying more eggs. Here’s how to do it: “A simple water fountain, ensuring a supply of fresh water for chickens, can be made from a pint wine bottle.




While supported by wire loops to a wooden upright as shown, the bottle is held inverted over an earthenware pan. The mouth of the bottle needs to be about half an inch above the bottom of the pan.”

Packing choice flowers

This method also works for propagating plant cuttings, like growing more rose bushes out of single rose cuttings. Potatoes contain enough moisture and nutrients to make a great rooting medium. Of course, for the plant to root successfully it will also require soil and other additional preparations.

“When sending choice flowers by post or otherwise, an excellent way to keep them from fading is to insert ends of stalks into small holes or slit cuts in a raw potato. This keeps the flowers fresh for a week or more.”

How to grow maidenhair ferns

While maidenhair ferns make a graceful addition to your garden, it is a rather picky plant when it comes to growing them. You might end up killing a few before you are finally successful. Maybe this tip will bring your success a little sooner. It will certainly be worth it.




“The best way to treat a maidenhair fern is to stand the pot in a fancy vase with a saucer inverted at the bottom. Pour in water to the depth of about halfway up the flowerpot. Keep the fern in a cool place, and don’t allow it to get dry. Never water one of these ferns by placing it under the tap.”

How to light a fire without wood

Campfire or grill. Getting a fire started without some kind of tinder or lighter fluid is impossible. This is an easy way to make some tinder out of paper that will get your fire going in no time.

“When lighting a fire it may be you have no wood to kindle the coals with. A good substitute is to use pieces of paper. Screw them into twists as the picture shows. Two or three sheets of newspaper are quite sufficient to start a judiciously built coal fire.”

How to light a match in the wind

If you have ever tried to light a match under windy conditions you will know the difficulty of it. The wind blows out your match faster than you can light it, and you end up wasting a lot of them.

“The familiar difficulty of lighting a match in a wind can be to a great extent overcome. Carve thin shavings towards its striking end as shown in the picture. On lighting the match, the curled strips catch fire at once; the flame is stronger, and has a better chance.”

Have you ever wanted to see the wind? Yes, you don’t just hear it, or feel it in your hair. On the next page you will find vintage trade card tips that deal with the weather, as well as advice on cooking and preserving. And since they come from a cigarette company, they also give tips on how to increase your lung power. Do you know how to swat a fly? Click on 2 below to continue

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