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Animal Leg Trap
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Title: Animal Leg Trap
Identifier: 2008.11.2
Donor: Alan Knowles
Item Date: 1927
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: An animal leg trap marked on the flat disc of the trap as "Oneida Victor." The flat disc is 4.4 cm in diameter has a 'V' cut out of the metal. The disc is attached to a flat bar with a band in it to attach the disc which triggers the trap. The spread of the jaw is about 9 cm wide which according to the Eaton's Catalogue would be for muskrat, house rats or gophers. The flat metal spring bracket has two 1.7 cm holes cut into the metal and these hold the trap close when extended. This bracket is attached to a 34 cm long chain which is composed of 7 'figure eight' chain-links with a rectangular bracket 'buckle' and eye hook atone end and at the other end a 4.5 cm ring. All the parts seem to be handmade.

The leg traps belonged to the donor's father, Mr. Knowles, who lived in the Brantford area. The donor, Mr. Alan Knowles, moved to Mississauga in 1970.

In the 1840s the Oneida Community of New York began to be involved with a variety of self-supporting craft industries. One of these activities included the manufacture of animal traps that were quickly recognized for their high quality throughout portions of North America. These traps at one time were the primary supplier of animal traps to the Hudson Bay Company. In the 1881 the Oneida Community dissolved but economic enterprises remained; the new company name, called Oneida Community Limited, than began to focus on manufacturing silverware. In 1925 the animal trap portion of the company was sold and the headquarters were relocated to Cleveland, Ohio and the company was renamed to Oneida Victor Company which still operates today.

The Oneida Community was founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1848 and who had developed teaching practices in relation to the Christian belief of 'Perfectionism' that valued communalism and self-perfection. Believing in group family and group family life these members were involved in shared property and work which allowed them to become successful in manufacturing activities including making silverware, animal traps and sewing silk.
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