Vintage Traps

Although still used for functions including hunting and wildlife control, animal traps have evolved past the era when animals were captured primarily for trade, food, and clothing. Today, thousands of vintage animal traps appear in collector’s markets worldwide, representing an evolution of early functional design and innovation.

Man has trapped animals since the beginning of time, and it’s believed the earliest traps were typically deadfalls and snares. Documented evidence of traps emerged in the 1600s and 1700s, when Swedish and English hunting literature described how to design and use the devices. In North America during the 1700s, blacksmiths began forging metal jaw-style traps, and the first commercial manufacturing of traps began with Sewell Newhouse and the Oneida Community in the late 1800s. Newhouse’s enterprise grew so much that by the early 1900s, two of every three animal traps in the U.S. originated from his factory in Sherrill, New York. Eventually, unregulated trapping and overharvesting through the 19th century forced many governments to enact laws regarding wildlife conservation, ultimately reducing animal trapping and the manufacturing of its equipment.

Vintage traps are both commercially manufactured and handmade. Manufactured traps will typically bear the maker's name. In the U.S., Newhouse, Victor, and Diamond are common corporation names inscribed on traps.


Quick Facts

  • The West Virginia State Museum has a trap once used by Daniel Boone to catch beavers
  • In 2011, an 1880s-era Oneida Newhouse No. 6 bear trap gathered $3,491 on a SoldUSA.com online auction. This style of trap was nicknamed The Great Bear Tamer
  • The mousetrap has 4,400 patents, more than any other device in U.S. history

Recommended Items at Auction

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Orvis Glass Minnow Trap
Oct 17, 10:00 AM EDT
Orvis Glass Minnow Trap
by Auctioneers, Inc.
Est: $0- $0
$303 Bids
AMERICAN FUR & TRADE NO. 6 BEAR TRAP.
Nov 08, 10:00 AM EST
AMERICAN FUR & TRADE NO. 6 BEAR TRAP.
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
VINTAGE STEEL BULLET TRAP WITH PIPE
Oct 28, 9:00 AM EDT
VINTAGE STEEL BULLET TRAP WITH PIPE
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $30- $90
$100 Bids
Victorian smoking stand with animal head decor
Oct 21, 9:00 AM EDT
Victorian smoking stand with animal head decor
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
Pair of early leather animals
Oct 19, 11:30 PM EDT
Pair of early leather animals
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $65- $75
$400 Bids
Iban Dayak Tuntun Pig Trap Amulet, Borneo, Early 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Iban Dayak Tuntun Pig Trap Amulet, Borneo, Early 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $600- $900
$3000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Vintage Traps


Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC

Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC

Apple Tree Auction Center

Apple Tree Auction Center

Poulin Antiques & Auctions

Poulin Antiques & Auctions

Material Culture

Material Culture