24 Lost Survival Tips from 100 Years Ago – with Illustrations

C. Davis
By C. Davis April 24, 2015 09:42

24 Lost Survival Tips from 100 Years Ago – with Illustrations

When we’ll have no running water, no hyperactive emergency services, no electricity… we are going to turn back to what people did 100 years ago. Here you’ll find some “little” survival tricks popular in the early 1900’s and (some of them) useful even today.

100 years ago Gallaher Ltd printed a short “How-To” series, with clever hints for emergency situations. The cards were distributed with packs of cigarettes. All the pictures bellow are part of the George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library. Please enjoy the article.

1. How to Extract a Splinter


Take a wide mouthed bottle and fill it with hot water nearly to the brim. Now press the affected hand or foot tightly against the mouth of the bottle.

This will then cause a suction and pull the flesh down. The suction plus the steam will help pull out the splinter.

182. How to Make an Emergency Water Filter

A handy and efficient water filter can be made out of an ordinary bucket.

First make a hole at the bottom of the bucket.

Instructions: “The water percolates through the layers of fine and coarse sand, and clean picked gravel and stones, with which the pail is filled, filtering through to the bottom in a clear state.”

One of the best layers you should add to this bucket is one made of charcoal. Here is an 100-Year-Old Way to Filter Rainwater Directly in a Barrel

3. How to Engrave on a Knife


This method was widely used during the Middle Ages and all the engravings in swords or armors. Here are some armors engraved using this traditional way.

Instructions: “The steel to be worked upon should be covered completely with a coating of beeswax. The lettering or design to be engraved can then be drawn with the point of a clean quill pen. This lays bare the metal. A strong solution of sulphate of iron should then be repeatedly poured over the exposed surface for about ten minutes. The more prolonged the action of the sulphate the deeper will the steel be engraved.”

44. How to Make a Fire Extinguisher

Although is good to know, probably none of us will make these old fashion extinguishers since is much easier to buy one. And because the new ones are more effective (I guess) and definitely safer.

Dissolve one pound of salt and half a pound of salt-ammoniac into two quarts of water. Then bottle the liquid in thin glass bottles holding about a quart each.

Should a fire break out, dash one or more bottles into the flames, and any serious outbreak will probably be averted.

5. How to Purify Water in a Cistern

1Easy! Stir in a tablespoon of powdered alum.

After 30 minutes the alum cause the particles and the bacteria to bound together and cause them to drop to the bottom leaving a clear purified water.

A tablespoon or half an ounce of alum will purify from sixteen to twenty gallons of water.

Related: H2O Dynamo: The Awesome Device That Turns Air Into Water 

86. How to Treat an Animal Bite

First tight a ligature round the limb above the wound. This will stop a little bit the bleeding and it will give you a better visibility to evaluate the wound.

The next advice given back then was: “Thoroughly cleanse the wound and if there is any suspicion of madness in the attacking animal the place should be well sucked and cauterized with luna caustic, or a white hot iron, after cutting away the surrounding flesh with a sharp clean knife.”

The advice was really good for that time, when there were no vaccines. And even today doctors recommend thoroughly washing the wound as soon as possible with soap and water for approximately five minutes (to reduce the number of rabies particles). Povidone iodine or alcohol is then recommended to reduce the virus further. When SHTF and we’ll no longer be able to access vaccines this is your only option available.

Related: If You See This Plant In Your Backyard Burn It Immediately (Video) 

97. How to Detect Escaping Gas

Gas leaks can be caused by faulty appliances, or by those that have been incorrectly installed or poorly maintained.

Some of us don’t even use gas anymore (like me) or some may have gas detectors, but either way, after an earthquake, or a hurricane or a tornado there will always be gas leaks.

This 100 years old method is risk free and quite reliable.

“Paint strong soap solution on the suspected length of pipe and the gas will then cause bubbles at the escaping point, which can be dealt with at once.”

8. How to Light a Match in the Wind


Instructions: “The familiar difficulty of lighting a match in the wind can be to a great extent overcome if thin shavings are first cut on the match 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.”

219. How to Find a Lost Trail

If a trail is lost, there isn’t much to do but to search for it.

A very good way to do that is to mark the last foot-print or sign you notice as the center of the circle and go round it at a distance of anything from 30 to 100 yards.

The trail should be discovered somewhere crossing the circular track you are following.

Related: 10 Things Cowboys Carried With Them in the Wild West to Survive (Video) 

1110. How to Cure Chilblains

“A simple and homely remedy, which immediately relieves the irritation and pain caused by chilblains, is salt and fresh apple juice.

The affected parts are rubbed gently with a slice of apple dipped in common salt. A good juicy apple should be used.”

11. How to Secure Loose Hammers and Axe Heads

12After wedging the handle of hammer as tight as possible, drill two holes at the end of wood and drive in two large screws.

An axe-head can be secured by boring a hole through the haft just bellow head and wiring through the hole and over top.

The wire should be twisted and staple driven into a hold position.

12. How to Tell the Points of the Compass with a Watch


Take the watch of your hand. Point the hour hand at the sun and then lay a piece of wire or a blade of grass crosswise between the hour hand and the figure twelve.

The end of the wire between the twelve and the hour hand points south.

13. A Simple Cure for Catarrh


Treatment for catarrh may not be necessary because it often disappears within a few days, after your body has fought off the infection. But in some cases it doesn’t go away and it can be a health problem, especially for the underfed. In food crisis when people are poorly fed, these low-risk diseases kill more people than starvation itself. (Read more about this: Ingenious Foods People Made During Famines)

Instructions: “Take a pinch of ordinary table salt up the nostrils, just as you would a pinch of snuff.

Then gargle the mouth and throat with warm water, being careful not to swallow it.

Do this each morning before breakfast.”

Related: SHTF Antibiotics (True Story) (Video)

14. Three Useful Knots

15No. 1 is the Timber Hitch, which is especially useful in lifting all kinds of heavy work, such as huge beams.

No. 2, the Fisherman’s Knot, shows a good method of joining two ropes tightly together.

No. 3 is the famous Clove Hitch, which becomes tighter the harder it is pulled.

1615. How to Bandage a Foot

A traditional method used to make the inflammation heal faster (especially for sprain ankles) was to place a leaf of cabbage between the bandage and the ankle.

In the picture: “Rest injured foot on operator’s knee on a clear towel.

Commence bandaging in manner shown by the lower diagram, the bandage being bound over and round the back of foot in spiral fashion, and eventually fixed by means of a safety pin, just beneath ankle, as shown in upper illustration.”

16. How to Make Roller Bandages

17Instructions: “A roller bandage must be rolled evenly and tightly, so in the absence of a machine a chair will serve this purpose.

The picture illustrates procedure. Whilst one person carefully rolls another pulls tight opposite end of the bandage, and at the same time sees that no folds or creases are allowed to form.”

Related: The Only 4 Antibiotics You’ll Need when SHTF

1917. How to Fell a Tree

Having decided which side you wish the tree to fall, cut alternatively a downward and inward cut as you can see in the picture – in this order.

When about half through, proceed to cut the other side a few inches higher, and finally pull tree down with the help of a rope.

In a survival situation (and not only) you can use trees for their nutritious sap. Here are the Trees That Can Be Tapped For Sap And Syrup.

18. How to Build a Simple Shelter

22Instructions: “A simple shelter can be made by driving two forked sticks into the ground and connecting these by a pole resting on them.

Branches are then laid resting on the pole. The right angle should be around 45 degrees, and the screen fitted up with smaller branches, ferns, etc.”

519. How to Make a Water Fountain for Chickens

Instructions: “A simple water fountain, ensuring a supply of fresh water for the chickens, can be made from a pint wine bottle, supported by wire loops to a wooden upright as shown.

The bottle is inverted over an earthenware pan, with the mouth of the bottle about half an inch above the bottom of pan.”

I see that now there are even some “rodent resistant chicken feeders” which can be used together with the water fountain if you leave for 2-3 days.

20. How to Remove Foreign Particles from the Eye


Few things are more irritating than having something in the eye.

“Drop sweet or castor oil into the corner of the eye. Picture shows a ready method of allowing drop of oil to fall into eye from the poim of a paint brush.”

If the particle is of mortar or lime, bathe eye with weak vinegar and water.

2021. How to Make a Chair to Cross a Stream

If your group has one or more people who cannot (maybe there are wounded) or don’t know how to swim, you might want to find a simple solution to help him cross a river. If there are nearby trees – and usually near rivers there are – all you need is a rope.

Fasten a strong rope to a tree and let somebody (who can swim) go across the stream and fasten the other end to a tree on an opposite bank.

Use another rope to improvise a chair fastening it into a running loop. “By means of a light rope fastened to the middle of (the) chair and held by someone at each end, those unable to swim are safely passed over.”

2322. Keeping Plants Watered While Away on Holiday

There are many simple and cheap DIY tricks to keep your green friends properly hydrated so that you don’t return home to a house full of wilting and yellowing plants.

A traditional method is to fill a large bucket with water, and place it a little above the level of the plants.

You can group round or near as many plants as you want. Place one end of a strand of wool in the bucket and the other one to the plant.

You can place as many yarns as you want.

Related: 100+ Ingenious Projects That You May Be Missing From Your Backyard (Video)

23. Rescue from Fire

24If it is necessary to enter a burning house in a search of unconscious persons, or to save a family member, first place a wet bandage over your nose and mouth and crawl in on all fours. You do this because the only Oxigen you may find is on close to the floor. (and the visibility is better)

Place a rope around his ankles. The other end of the rope around your chest or shoulders.

Then turn your back on him and drag him out. (you’re going on all fours with rope underneath)

24. How to Preserve Eggs


Preserve only eggs that are newly laid. Bury them in a box of salt.

This traditional way of keeping eggs has been almost forgotten. The eggs last about an year when they are totally buried in the salt. No air whatever must be allowed to get at the shells.

This way you’ll have eggs and salt for survival.

Related: How to Make Survival Powdered Eggs

325. How to Treat Sprains

Elevate the injured joint and wrap in cloths wrung out in cold water. The picture shows how to keep the cloths constantly wet without having to change them.

Place a jug of water higher than the injured limb and a strip of linen with one end in the jug and the other end resting upon the wrapping of sprained joint.

The water will pass from the jug to compress keeping it constantly wet and cold.

Check out the second part of this article, Another 21 Lost Tips from 100 Years Ago – with Illustrations.

The SHTF we all prep for is what folks 150 years ago called daily life. A hundred years ago people knew how to do a lot of things – that we now take for granted. Learning how to do stuff on your own is one of the most important things that one can do to prepare… And in time of crisis you need to be able to support and sustain your family without much outside aid.

You may also like:

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C. Davis
By C. Davis April 24, 2015 09:42
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  1. OkieMama April 25, 20:09

    I’m gonna have to save all that, thats VERY good info to have

    Reply to this comment
  2. bah April 26, 05:54

    interesting stuff, good to know. thanks.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Savage April 28, 22:07

    what if my dehydrator does not have a heat setting? can this still be done?

    Reply to this comment
  4. Doug May 11, 17:42

    #7 If you have a camper, the soap and water really works for gas lines.
    #9 Should you be trailing a deer and the trail stops the circle works. Smaller to larger circle. Trailing a deer , all of a sudden no blood. The last thing the deer did when it ran out of blood was to leap and landed tight behind a downed spruce tree. Had to dang near step on it before you could see it.
    #12 The sun and watch ,I’ve used since BSA (50 years). At night the Big Dipper and Polaris are nice, but there are clouds. On the line of the ecliptic at its apex winter there is Orion, spring Leo, summer Scorpio, & fall Great Square of Pegaus.
    14 The knots- fisherman’s knot great for broken shoelaces-timber hitch easier to use than a choker chain especially for brush (rope wears out faster than chain but rope if it catches on something it streaches and is easier on small equipment.
    17 Using a ratchet hoist instead of a rope allows one person to get her done.

    Reply to this comment
  5. jb59 May 26, 03:10

    24 or 25 tips?

    Reply to this comment
  6. John Parsons June 8, 20:50

    #24, The hen applies a protective coating on the shell and will remain if not washed. However, they only stay good for 2 weeks.

    Reply to this comment
  7. ronkgman August 17, 17:05


    Reply to this comment
  8. MATTHIAS August 21, 21:11

    The Lord said that in the end times there will be many wolves in sheep’s clothing…
    I believe this website is nothing more than some greedy person’s way to milk millions of dollars from honest hard working people.

    Is the United States of America the new/mystery Babylon?
    it’s possible…
    but it is also possible to step off a curb & get run over by a truck…

    Save your $$$ people, read your Holy Bible, study it, & most importantly, give your heart & soul to the one true Lord of Lords,
    Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

    Reply to this comment
    • lanP October 20, 20:03

      Out of all the religions in the world I’m pleased that you have found the only true one.

      Reply to this comment
    • Andi October 21, 20:57

      Well said. Rely on the Lord for sure. Does that mean you shouldn’t take care of the family (or yourself) that God entrusted to your care? Prudent preparations for rainy days ahead are not mutually exclusive to trusting in Him.

      Reply to this comment
    • Bill January 12, 20:01

      Your a nutjob

      Reply to this comment
    • moon November 29, 16:27

      you are going to be the first to die so keep reading god helps those who help themselfs

      Reply to this comment
    • Flo August 23, 21:29

      I couldn’t agree more about reading “…your Holy Bible, study it, & most importantly, give your heart& soul to the one true Lord of Lords…”. On the other hand, being a believer in and a follower of Jesus means nothing without pray for the wisdom and the ability to care for one’s loved ones and like minded friends. A person can profess anything, it’s actions that prove those professed words. I, for one, will continue to indeed read my Bible, trust the Lord to protect me and provide for me. I will also get off my posterior and do what I can to provide for myself and my loved ones. If doing what I can, on my own, makes me seem to be a hypocrite then so be it. Just don’t show up at my door when SHTF, you my get a surprise.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Seeker1028 October 21, 16:37

    Very good information that is great to add to the tool box, it is these little nuggets of information that make a great survival library. Please keep the information flowing and share it with others, Thank You !!

    Reply to this comment
  10. Cooltruth October 21, 19:38

    If there’s a bug that’s going to kill Americans, you’d think they would put it in the article instead of having to click on a video to find out about it. Videos use a lot of data to listen to conversation that makes you wait for the sought after information.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Get Prepared October 24, 13:00

    They also could get water from their wells without electricity, not so easy with modern wells and the grid dependent pumps required to get water. If you get your water from a well, you may want to check out the Emergency Well Tube. This is an affordable backup tool that allows water to be drawn from a well without electricity and without having to remove the mechanical components from the well casing to use it.

    Reply to this comment
  12. left coast chuck May 30, 23:44

    Number two is incorrect. The coarser material should go on the top and the finer material on the bottom. If one thinks about it for a minute, the larger gravel removes the larger dirt particles, then the next layer, smaller particles, and so forth. If you had the fine sand at the top it would be clogged with all the debris in the water and nothing would get through and there would be no need for the coarser gravel in the bottom. One might want to put some kind of cloth on the bottom of the pail to keep the fine sand from washing out of the pail.

    With regard to number seven: At least one technician for my local gas company still uses that method to check for leaks. I had a leak at my meter and when he got here he whipped out his jar of soapy water and painted the joints until he found the leak and tightened it. He wiped the joints all down and went back and painted the joints again to make sure the leak was gone. Found the leak, fixed it and was gone in under five minutes.

    Reply to this comment
  13. kathy July 27, 18:15

    I love the information

    Reply to this comment
  14. George September 16, 14:10

    We use in on the railroad to find leaks in the Air Brake equipment lines. I retired 1995 but I guess they use it.

    Reply to this comment
  15. vapor store October 1, 10:55

    If some one desires to be updated with most up-to-date technologies after that he must be pay a quick visit this website and be up to date daily.

    Reply to this comment
  16. john December 27, 16:35

    Here’s my comment , I have paid for a book ” THE LOST WAYS ” months ago and have not yet received it whats up , do i need a small claims court lawyer ?

    Reply to this comment
    • 😀 February 24, 15:05

      You get immediate access from the download button on your receipt from clickbank. Take the time to look I assure you it is there

      Reply to this comment
  17. Bill January 12, 20:03

    Good and interesting information.


    Reply to this comment
  18. jolj January 26, 02:58

    #14—-Bowline would have been better, ask any boy scout.
    Bowline can save lives, has saved lives.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Robinson March 17, 20:00

    It rains in the winter but I need to water plants in the spring and summer. Water filtration sounds expensive and chlorine is bad for plants. It would be nice if the alum works then I’ll be able to use the rainwater I can save. Thank you

    Reply to this comment
  20. Pat Turner August 7, 20:31

    Has anyone had a problem receiving the THREE PHYSICAL COPIES of the books that were offered: The Lost Book of Remedies, SHTF Medicinal Garden and Everyday Disasters??? Today one of them , The Lost Remedies, was delivered, but no mention of the other TWO books I understood I was buying??

    Reply to this comment
  21. Jay October 2, 15:46

    I was surfing the net and ran across your article. Those are some interesting tips. However, I see a problem with Tip #5, that says: How to purify water in a Cistern, where it suggests adding: Alum to the water to purify it. Well…I don’t think that’s a good idea, as Alum is the equivalent of aluminum, and aluminum is a known toxin to the human body if ingested. Back then…they didn’t know this of course. A safer alternative to purifying water would be to boil it for at least 10-15 minutes. If boiling is not possible, use regular non-scented household bleach to purify drinking water. For every gallon of water, use 8-drops of bleach.

    Reply to this comment
  22. JOLJ May 3, 03:58

    Alum is used in all city water purification, so unless you own a country well, as I do or drink that over priced bottle water(most of which comes from city tap water) you are drinking & bathed in it every day. It is aluminum potassium sulfate. This is the type of alum that you find in the grocery store for pickling and in baking powder. It is also used in leather tanning, as a flocculant in water purification, as an ingredient in aftershave and as a treatment to fireproof textiles. Its chemical formula is KAl(SO4)2.Jul 11, 2019.
    sorry, Jay .

    Reply to this comment
  23. Gabriel Lapointe June 25, 06:48

    Desde la completa tecnología de fluidos, la gestión optimizada de las virutas y los versátiles dispositivos de lubricante refrigerador hasta el transportador de cinta de charnelas: el modelo de la gama High Performance ofrece varias funciones destacadas, como, por ejemplo, el sistema idóneo para eliminar del espacio de trabajo todo tipo de virutas.

    Reply to this comment
  24. Dave from San Antonio December 7, 17:52

    Good article. The ‘Gallaher’s Cigarettes’ company was ahead of it’s time in placing these tips on the cigarette packages. Back then, these would be considered ‘reminders’ of what to do. Today…it’s almost an instruction manual.

    Reply to this comment
  25. deb February 26, 23:12

    REALLY appreciate this information!

    Reply to this comment
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