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7 New Uses for a Penny

Clever ways to repurpose an everyday item.

Penny John Lawton

1. Curtain Straightener

Make an opening in the bottom hem, slide in a penny or two, and sew the hem back up to keep curtains hanging level and stick-straight.

2. Tread Checker

Insert a penny into a groove of a tire with Lincoln’s head pointing into the tire. If the groove covers part of his head, you’re safe to drive; if the head is in full view, it’s time for new wheels. (The distance between the rim of a penny and Lincoln’s head is 1/16 of an inch―the minimum suggested tread depth.)

3. Table Anchor

If you dine out and the table is unsteady, put a coin under the leg to restore balance.

4. Game Token

Misplaced the thimble? No problem. Sub in a cent.

5. Reader Tip: Makeshift Screwdriver

Use a penny to screw open a toy’s battery pack.
Caroline Brant, Collegeville, Pennsylvania

6. Reader Tip: Icebreaker

Hand out pennies at your next gathering and ask each guest to share a story that happened during the year his or her penny was minted. If the coin predates a friend, let the person improvise.
Rachel Harrison Massa, Stamford, Connecticut

7. Reader Tip: Birdbath Cleaner

To ward off algae, toss in a few pre-1982 coins; the high copper content retards growth.
Suzanne Wesley, Terre Haute, Indiana

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