Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying, "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door."
Delta resident Gary Chism believes he's designed that "better mousetrap," which he markets under the name "The Trap."
Like many great inventions, The Trap was designed to solve a very real problem. At Chism's rural home, mice were getting into his shop. When he tried mouse bait, he wound up poisoning a skunk that then died in his shop. "Imagine the smell!" he said.
He then invested in a number of wood traps, but they quit working after catching one mouse.
"The mice were overtaking me so I came up with this idea," he said. "The original was very crude, but the first night I caught five or six, and the following night I caught four or five."
The Trap kept the mice away. About two years later, Chism mentioned that fact to his two sons, who responded, "Dad, you need to patent that mousetrap and sell it."
He retained a patent attorney in Denver and now has a patent pending on the design.
The concept is very simple, he explains. The mousetrap is positioned over a five-gallon bucket which is filled with water (if you plan to kill the mouse) or soft material such as kitty litter (if you plan to relocate the mouse). The plastic mousetrap is placed over the bucket -- but first you coat the barrel with peanut butter to lure the mouse in. Then the bucket is placed where the mouse can find access. Chism says he's seen a mouse climb up a stucco wall to get to the peanut butter.
The mouse walks across a ledge to get to the barrel, nibbles on the peanut butter, and soon falls into the bucket. It's a simple matter to pick the bucket up and dump it out.
One day Chism overheard a receptionist talking about an elusive mouse in her house. He suggested she take The Trap home and see how it worked. The Trap caught a mouse that night. "I did not have to even touch it to get rid of it," she said.
Last fall, Chism suspected a mouse of getting onto his back porch and eating the dog food. But instead of one mouse, the next morning he had three mice in The Trap.
He used a night camera to capture The Trap in action. Chism uploaded a demonstration to a QR code that can be scanned by a smart phone.
Chism has located an Eckert firm that produces The Trap and he's marketing it locally at Delta Hardware, Sisson Feed, Big John's in Cedaredge, The Hungry Lion in Austin, Dependable Lumber in Paonia and True Value in Fruita. Demonstrations can be seen at Rocky Mountain Rebar in Delta and Gambles in Hotchkiss.
The mouse traps are more expensive than many alternatives, but they never wear out. They are low maintenance -- no chemicals, no resetting and no messy cleanup. Chism says they're also safe, silent and reliable. The trap cleans up easily with soap and water.
Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.