Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It's a Trap! No, it's a Mystery Artifact. Well, it's both, really.

Today we get to tell you what this mystery artifact is:

We had a few guesses saying that this one was some sort of trap, And they were right!
Last week’s mystery artifact was a fly trap! Or a fly catcher, depending on who you ask. 

Though one of those refers to a plant and the other to a bird, both of which eat flies, our artifact is simply a trap to keep pesky flies away. They were made popular around the turn of the 20th century. Mostly they are used on farms or places like that where there are large conglomerations of pesky flies. 

How to use it is pretty simple. Some sort of bait is placed underneath the cone part of the trap, and flies are attracted to it.  Most sources say that a bit of rotten fish or meat, or even old fruit could be placed under the trap. After the flies are done eating, they fly up into the top of the cone. Why? They're flying towards light. Once they fly up the cone, they can’t figure out the way back out of the trap, and eventually die there.
  If you're curious to know more about how these look in use, the video below addresses using them from 1:14-2:00. 

Though our artifact is made of both metal and wood pieces, many similar traps have been made solely out of metal like this one: 

As you can see, with the one seen in the picture, the cone in the bottom can be removed for disposing of the flies. But with our trap, the flies were disposed of by opening the little lid at the top.

There are also glass fly traps that work in a similar way. They look like this: 

Interestingly enough, these kinds of fly traps are still being used. Some people use ones that work the same way but are made of plastic. But it seems that it is also common for people to build their own of the screened variety. There are a number of sites like this one that give instructions to make your own! Do you think you'll give it a try? Or maybe just stick with some flypaper? 

Thanks for reading this week's reveal! We'd love it if you came to visit to check out all our previous artifacts in person, or just to have a look around the museum. Starting this week, and all summer long, we will be open 10 am - 5 pm Monday through Saturday, and 1 pm-5pm on Sundays. 

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