Household Hints (from 1916)… Get Your Soot Ready


Every now and again, we look through our back issues (we have them going back to 1914, and the National Library of Ireland holds copies pre-dating these). Some of the stuff is fascinating, and some of it just reminds us how far we’ve come, and how awful it was to darn socks by oil light.


Household hints have been a feature of the Almanac since its inception, and the 1916 edition didn’t spare us from its domestic wisdom. Just to help you to appreciate how easy your life is, check out these household hints from our 1916 edition. You will never EVER want to jump in a time machine after reading these.

-To brighten carpets sprinkle salt before sweeping. (Crunchy!)

-To spend five minutes darning a worn spot will save you an hour later on. (Or go to Penneys and buy new socks)

-Select a lamp with oil reservoir not more than four inches deep, as the light is much better than a deeper one. (Or turn on a switch! Phew.)

-A doctor rarely enters, except as a guest, the house where early hours are kept and plenty of soap and water used. (Gross, you soap-dodging 1916ers!)

-Coloured flannels must never be hung out to dry on sunny days. (Umm…what sunny days?)

-Salt and soot mixed makes a good tooth cleaner. (Ew. Ew. Eoouu. Hell no.)

-Corks or a little sugar lights up decaying fire quickly. (Or fire up the central heating. Toasty!)

-Keep food hot for late arrivals on a basin of warm water and not in ovens. (Hello microwave!)

-Peel onions from root upwards and your eyes will not trouble you. (Or buy ready-made meals from Tesco)

-Old fowl should always be boiled, add a spoonful of vinegar to make tender. (Or pop into KFC)

-Ashes make kitchen utensils bright and free from rust. Rub well for a minute and rinse in tepid water after. (Hello dishwasher)

-To renovate ostrich feathers sprinkle with salt and shake in front of fire. (Umm… what ostrich feathers? Ew.)


You can see the old editions of Old Moore’s Almanac in the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, free of charge. You can’t borrow the books, but you can take them into the reading rooms and get some handy hints in case you ever find yourself living unexpectedly in 1916.

As always, the advice on the cover is: Beware of spurious editions.

Modern times, how we love you…

Good luck!

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