The better mousetrap: Jawz brand.
After two autumns with no sign of mice, I've got at least one mouse this fall. (I know there's no such thing as one mouse, but I want to be optimistic.)
I tried the old Victor traps. Got a snap, but the mouse managed to pull free.
Decided to try the newer Jawz brand. Just now got a solid kill.
The Jawz trap has an immediately obvious advantage: You can set it without losing a finger.
Place on a solid surface, push the handle down with both thumbs, get thumbs out of the way. No need for lightning reflexes.
The Victor really requires three hands to set safely. I don't have three hands, so I get it right about half the time. Also it's so damn sensitive that you sometimes trip it when putting it down. Because it's so risky I hesitate to use it, and handle it with heavy gloves and pliers. A weapon that you hesitate to use is not a good weapon.
Now I know that the Jawz has one more advantage: Solid kill. The Victor's wood base is always trying to flip and pull away at the same time that the wire comes down. Not enough inertia in the base. Result is a miss or an escapable tail grab too often. The Jawz clearly stayed in the same position and grabbed the middle of the mouse.
Later thought: The improved safety AND the improved kill both arise from one basic change in geometry, which could
have been done two centuries ago but wasn't
done for some reason. On Victor the wire pivots 180 degrees; on Jawz the jaw part pivots about 100 degrees. The shorter arc separates the trap between kill side and safe side. Your fingers stay on the safe side. It also means that the jaw moves almost entirely downward, versus the Victor's up-sideways-down travel. Effective kill action starts immediately, without going through the moves that can flip or pull the base. Clearly the Jawz designer put plenty of thought into inertia and centers of gravity.
Parallel to the distinction between Strowger and Bell dials. On Strowger
your finger goes mostly downward on all digits, which is an easier and less error-prone move.
On Bell rotaries your finger has to pull up then sideways then down
for the higher digits, which was always tricky and often made the phone itself jump and slide.
Superior ergonomics gave way to superior monopoly power. I can't tell if a similar yield happened with Victor.
Later: Aha. Wiki article
shows the parallel. The first practical home mousetrap, patented
by James Keep in 1879, looks EXACTLY
like a metal version of Jawz. So the better design came first here, just as with the phone dial.
Labels: defensible spaces