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Mousetrap

From Academic Kids

For more meanings, see Mousetrap (disambiguation).
A baited and primed mousetrap.
A baited and primed mousetrap.

A mousetrap is a device used for trapping small rodents, especially mice. It was invented by Hiram Maxim (who also invented the Maxim Gun).

The device is classically portrayed as a simple device, having a heavily springloaded bar and a trip to release it. Typically, cheese is placed on the trip as bait, which does not work as most mice don't like it; they will however take other foods such as bread or meat. Peanut butter is also quite effective. The spring-loaded bar rapidly swings down upon something touching the trip, usually a mouse. The design is such that the mouse's neck or spinal cord will be broken, or its ribs crushed, by the force of the bar.

This is not the only type of "mousetrap", however. There are many traps which catch the mouse alive whereupon it can be released into the wild.

Strychnine-soaked grain pellets were a common substitute for mousetraps for some time; however, they are rarely used due to the toxicity of the chemical.

The device is used proverbially in the statement "If you build a better mousetrap, someone will build a better mouse," which means that no matter how good one is at stopping events such as robberies, cracking or other such conduct (or catching those who engage in it), someone is bound to find a way around it.

Mousetraps are also common in physical hurt comedy, and in this case are used when people sit on them or get fingers caught in them.

Patents

  • US661068 (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=661068.WKU.&OS=PN/661068&RS=PN/661068) -- Mousetrap
  • US883611 (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=883611.WKU.&OS=PN/883611&RS=PN/883611) -- Rat bell
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