The people who used to own the 1940s house in SW Minneapolis, of which we are not the not-terribly-proud owners, were very into expedient repairs. We've found not much like the direct-wire light fixtures and the like on the Inspector's Nightmare pages, but maybe we just haven't looked everywhere yet. The telephone wire leading up through the laundry chute isn't actually dangerous, eh? Nor the bathroom tile fixed with a piece of newspaper and glob of super glue.
So today I finally got around to the bathtub handles, one of which screamed like the damned at any volume other than full-on. I read the appropriate article here on TOH, but this is some other kind of system with no first screw behind the decorative 'H' and 'C' buttons. The 'H' button was glued on with a big blob of silicone caulk as ol' Steve had broken off all the tabs that held it on. But the big surprise was trying to get out the washers. One was there, shredded and with a limited amount of teflon tape. The other came out right away, but it was a piece of oil-soaked cotton string. So, is this a legitimate old-timey plumber repair, or just another annoying Mitchell-ism?
I've spent 45 minutes and ruined a pair of needle-nose tweezers, and now off to the hardware store three blocks up the hill, where they probably have actual washers.