Household Hints and Tips from Ladies Home Journal Readers

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, September 11, 1914: Nothing doing.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t’ write anything of substance a hundred years ago today, I’ll share some hundred-year-old household hints and tips from the April, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.  The hints were published in a column called “What Other Women Have Found Out.” It’s basically an old-time version of Hints from Heloise.

The Ladies Home Journal Readers’ Exchange encouraged readers to submit helpful hints; and, according to the magazine “a crisp dollar bill is paid for any idea accepted.”

What Other Women Have Found Out

When Making Muffins or Cakes in muffin-pans or rings, if there is not enough of the mixture for all of the pans you may prevent the empty ones from burning by filling them with water.


When Straining Soup set a coarse strainer inside a fine one and pour the liquid through both; thus you will avoid clogging the fine one with pieces of meat and broken bones.


burlap bag b

Play Aprons for Children may be made most satisfactorily of burlap. An ordinary feed-bag will do. Fold the material at the shoulders and cut a kimono slip apron having a square neck large enough to permit of dropping the apron over the child’s head. Do not seam it, but bind it all around with some bright-colored material and fasten under the arms with large buttons and loops. These kinds of apron require little washing, as the coarseness of the material prevents the dirt from sticking to it. Such aprons will protect the children when playing in the sand or dirt, or making mud pies.


Use a Fork in Mixing Pie Crust and in mixing baking-powder biscuit, if you wish both to be praised for their lightness.


Children’s Collections, however dear to them, are often a great bother to the mother. She dislikes to destroy what the child has taken so much trouble to get together, yet there are few houses big enough to hold all that a child can accumulate. One good mother, who had nearly exhausted all the places she had for storing treasures committed to her care, has two deep drawers made under the framework of an old-fashioned high lounge. These deep drawers the children have in which to keep their collections and no one ever interferes with the contents of them. The house has been much neater and the children are proud of having a special place for their possessions.


Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

26 thoughts on “Household Hints and Tips from Ladies Home Journal Readers

  1. Two deep drawers would never do to hold my expansive child’s collections….fortunately, her brother is the minimalist type!

    Love these tips, and the house jackets, too!

      1. They actually balance each other out in quite a few ways – one boy, one girl; one mellow, one intense; one private, one a performer…

        They are also very good friends who tend to respect one another’s ways of being in the world, and to genuinely enjoy their time together.

    1. That was my favorite, too. I also liked the straining soup one–though my fine strainer is smaller than my coarse one, so I won’t be able to actually try it unless I buy some more strainers. 🙂

  2. I had heard of the muffin tin tip while taking Home Ec in high school (this would be 1971 – as freshman, the girls got a semester of shop and we got a semester of Home Ec). The teacher was in her seventies then, and she said her mother had taught her and her brother these things.!

    One tip she had for us that does not appear here – she said to always use a wooden spoon to stir any liquid – soups, sauces, batters, etc., etc. She said metal utensils leave a bitter taste.

    1. Your school was more forward thinking than mine–Girls took home ec and boys took shop at my school.

      I never heard the metal spoon tip, but my mother used to say not to use aluminum pans to make spaghetti sauce and other foods with tomatoes for the same reason.

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