During the 1930s, the tobacco company W.D and H.O.Wills gave away colourful and entertaining collectors ‘cigarette trade cards’ in packets of their cigarettes. ‘Household hints’ was issued several times, in slightly different editions from 1930 to 1939. Some of the ideas look antiquated and redundant but occasionally there are forgotten gems that are pertinent today. I am sharing this series as a historical glimpse into yesterday’s home maintenance and the occasional addition to solutions for the modern home.
“Measure hearth and obtain sufficient tiles to cover it; place outer row in position and fit wood border AA. Make a traversing rule or “screed,” B, notched at ends to depth slightly less than thickness of tile (see diagram). Mix some neat Portland cement rather soft, float over hearth C, and “screed” it level. Having well soaked and drained tiles, lay them quickly and lightly from the edge inwards, rubbing level with a wood pat, D, worked with a circular motion. Rub a little stiff cement into joints with a rag, and polish with dry cloth.”
These condensed instructions from the thirties are essentially the same as advice today. Do a dry run first. If you have to cut your tiles, make a modern turn and invest in a wet saw. it won’t cost a fortune and gives great results. Use masking tape to protect the surrounding area and to minimise clean up later.