Victor Choker Mousetrap

Description
The Animal Trap Company of Lititz, Pennsylvania manufactured the “Victor Choker Mouse Trap” with four trap mechanisms around 1925. Since the U.S. Patent Office was formally established in 1838, it has granted more than forty-four hundred mousetrap patents, more than any other invention. John Mast heeded Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice to, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door” and in 1899 built the more familiar snap trap which received its patent in 1903. Simple and effective, Mast’s trap is the best-selling mousetrap of all time. However, inventors are still attempting to improve upon Mast’s design—the Patent Office grants about 40 patents for mousetraps a year, and it receives almost ten times as many patent requests!
The simple mousetrap is a testament to American ingenuity. Inventors and innovators have sought to deal with the mice in different ways - some traps are “beheaders,” some “imprisoners,” and some are “mashers.” No matter the design, the mousetrap has an undeniable grasp on the American imagination, with board games, gambling apparatus, and even movies being based on this pervasive mammal and the attempts to capture it.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
mousetrap
trap, mouse
date made
1869- 1925
maker
Animal Trap Company
Physical Description
metal, steel (overall material)
wood (overall material)
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Lititz
used
Canada: Ontario
ID Number
DL*318955.0001
catalog number
318955.0001
accession number
318955
subject
Domestic Furnishings
Industry & Manufacturing
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Dorothy M. and Mary A. Lyons

Visitor Comments

10/31/2015 5:28:05 PM
Matthew Poole
I found one of these in my grandfather's basement in 1962. I still have it and it works just fine. I'm surprised it never caught on. Much better than the snap trap. No mess.
2/28/2016 10:45:35 AM
Kevin Coffee
The 'Victor' rodent traps were originally developed by Oneida Community Ltd. (the successor to the communitarian Oneida Community in central New York state) in 1886, as part of its animal trap manufacturing business (e.g. Newhouse traps).
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