We grew up with black tarry stuff that Grandma had in the medicine chest. Somehow it did what it said, it drew the splinter out. Dad on the other hand used to torture us with his pen knife, ice pick or whatever sort of pointy thing handy that could excavate a trench down to the offending splinter.
I've since found out that drawing salve is called Ichthammol ointment. I'd love to know why it works. Every time I use it I laugh when that splinter pops out. I still use an exacto knife on occasion just to relive the memories...