James Henry Atkinson
James Henry Atkinson (1849 – 1942) was a British ironmonger from Leeds, Yorkshire who is best known for his 1899 patent of the Little Nipper mousetrap. He is cited by some as the inventor of the classic spring loaded mousetrap, but this basic style of mousetrap was patented a few years earlier in the United States by William Chauncey Hooker in 1894.
Atkinson patented various inventions including a number of mousetrap mechanisms (GB189827488, GB189913277, GB190002503, GB190008317, GB190820769, GB191022542). The mousetrap patents included a number of variations of the now classic snapping mousetrap consisting of a spring-loaded hinged metal bar mounted on a small flat wooden base. It slams shut in 38/1000 of a second, killing the mouse by breaking its spine and causing shock and internal bleeding. Although some of his designs were more sophisticated (for example treadle activated triggers) it is the simple ‘Little Nipper´ that was the most successful. The spring-on-board mousetrap design has captured a sixty-percent share of the British mousetrap market alone, and an estimated equal share of the international market.
James Atkinson sold his mousetrap patent in 1913 for 1,000 pounds to Procter, the company that has been manufacturing the "Little Nipper" ever since, and has even erected a 150-exhibit mousetrap museum in its factory headquarters.
- "An Improved Bait Trap for Mice, Rats, and the like".
- "The Patents". DiscoveringYorkshire.org. 24 October 2007.
- "James Henry Atkinson and the ‘Little Nipper´.". MyLearning.org. 14 January 2008.
- Patent of William C. Hooker's animal-trap in Google Patents.
- "Espacenet - results".
- "Improved Treadle Trap for Mice, Rats and the like".