110 years of DIY

Popular Mechanics is an icon of the DIY spirit. Continually published for over a century, it’s an emblem of the most praiseworthy parts of the mythic American character: self-reliant, egalitarian, innovative.


February 1957 issue said Tighten a C-clamp onto a ladder rail to keep a hammer “safely at hand” when working up high.

54cfd26126513_-_110-tips-12-0312-deA tire tip from December 1935: To locate a pinhole leak in a bike tire’s inner tube, hold it under water and watch for bubbles.



November 1948 issue For readers burdened by correspondence, “one way to avoid the unpleasant task of licking postage stamps.” The trick: Moisten the stamps using a potato cut in half. The water in the potato activates the adhesive. Stamps today often adhere like stickers, but a spare spud can still be used to moisten a pile of envelope flaps.


November 1948 Six-inch garden-hose scraps can hold hand tools. Cut the hose to length with a small tab at the top to take a wall-mounting screw. “Using garden hose for this purpose is especially convenient for the man who does not want to build a cabinet.”

54cfd26bc2876_-_110-tips-58-0312-deMay 1960 Use a cardboard milk carton to start charcoal for a grill. Cut off the top and stack the coals inside. The wax-coated carton will produce a hot flame around them.


April 1916 To waterproof matches, dip them in melted paraffin wax.


February 1961 “Transistor radios produce a deeper, more melodious tone when placed speaker-down on top of an open fruit jar.”. And it works today for an iPhone.






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