Unexpectedly Intriguing!
June 8, 2012

Inventors spend their lives seeking to build the proverbial better mousetrap, but we're pretty sure that the best mousetrap ever was invented by James A. Williams of Fredonia, Texas and patented on 26 December 1882:

U.S. Patent #269766

Yes, it's real and it's glorious! Quoting from the abstract for U.S. Patent #269,766 (via Google's Patent Search):

My invention relates to an improvement in animal traps; and it consists in the combination of a suitable frame upon which a revolver or pistol is secured, a treadle which is secured to the front end of this frame, and a suitable spring and levers, by which the firearm is discharged when the animal steps upon the treadle, as will be more fully described hereinafter.

The object of my invention is to provide a means by which animals which burrow in the ground can be destroyed, and which trap will give an alarm each time that it goes off, so that it can be reset.

The accompanying drawing represents the side elevation of my invention complete.

But wait, that's not all! Inventor Williams identifies another use for his invention:

This invention may also be used in connection with a door or window, so as to kill any person or thing opening the door or window to which it is attached.

James A. Williams was clearly a man with whom no person or thing should ever trifle, be they a burrowing animal, or something else. We wonder what exactly the "thing" was that his invention was meant to kill if it ever opened his door or window in Fredonia, Texas....

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