In 1951, the Christian Mission at Glasgow Christian Church in Glasgow, Illinois, sponsored the printing of a spiral-bound booklet featuring 1,001 helpful household hints. “Your Household Guide” might have been a fundraiser for this group of ladies that included my grandma, great-grandma, great-great aunts and women that were not related but that my dad had grown up recognizing as aunts.

Glasgow is a very small town in a very small county in west-central Illinois. Although I grew up on rural route Winchester, Glasgow was the nearest “town” and home to my great-grandma and all of those “aunts.”

When I was sorting through grandma’s cookbooks, I came across this little gem of a guide. There are chapters on everything from baking to sewing, flowers to insects, laundry to business laws, employers quarterly federal tax returns to paints, and wedding anniversaries to federal old-age benefits.

The guide has been tucked away in a corner of a kitchen cabinet for several years now.

I stumbled across it while looking for a ladle last week and once I began to skim through, found myself mesmerized by the contents, prompting me to share a few of the pointers with you.

Business Laws:

  • Signatures with lead pencil are good in law.
  • A contract with a minor or a lunatic is void.
  • A note obtained by fraud or given by an intoxicated person cannot be collected.


  • Do not grease the sides of cake pans. How would you like to climb a greased pole?


  • To keep bugs out of beans which are to be kept for seed, use 1-part lime to 6 parts beans. Sift over and through.
  • To kill worms on cabbage, take 1 tablespoon of Paris Green and 9 parts of flour and dust on cabbage.


  • Piano (to protect): Moths and mice are the greatest enemies a piano has. Lightly dusting the felt parts with Paris Green every two years keep them away for a lifetime.
  • Moths do not like turpentine. When washing your blankets in the spring, put several tablespoons of turpentine in the wash water. The moths will then stay away from the blankets and by the time these blankets are needed in the fall the odor will have evaporated.
  • Moths: To keep out of carpets, add a little turpentine to one-half bucket of water. Dampen broom in this mixture and sweep.
  • Good Cheap Liniment: Break end of 1 egg open. Put the egg in a glass bottle. Fill the shell with turpentine. Also fill it with vinegar. Put both in bottle with egg and shake well. It is ready for use.


  • To renovate a dust mop, put a large tablespoonful of concentrated lye in an old pail half full of boiling water and let the mop boil in it. After rinsing several times, the mop will be as good as new.
  • To whiten laces, wash them in sour milk.

Times and the tools we use to accomplish our “household” tasks have changed but we still want our cakes to rise, our laces white and our cabbage without worms!


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