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Antrim father, son co-invent new mousetrap 

  • Father and son Vince and James duo explain an invention they are trying to market —a better mousetrap. Staff photoS by Abby Kessler

  • A father and a son explain an invention they are trying to lift off the ground. (Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • A father and a son explain an invention they are trying to lift off the ground. (Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • A father and a son explain an invention they are trying to lift off the ground. (Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • A father and a son explain an invention they are trying to lift off the ground. (Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • A father and a son explain an invention they are trying to lift off the ground. (Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, January 22, 2018

There’s an old saying that goes “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”

Co-inventors Vince Barto and his 10-year-old son James believe they’ve built a better mousetrap, now they are waiting for the second part of the saying to play out.

Barto, who lives in Antrim, said they have designed the only permanently fastened, non-disposable rodent trap design that prevents mice from accessing living spaces by catching the critters where they roam.

A section of a flyer posted on Barto’s website says, “think about this … while mice scurry through your house, to and from traditional baited traps, they are urinating and defecating all over ‘your’ spaces and spreading disease along with it.”

“Our traps catch them before they need to enter our living spaces looking for food,” Barto said in an email to the Ledger-Transcript. “It just makes sense.”

Barto said his trap looks a lot like a household fire alarm, meaning it’s discrete in appearance. He said the device could be placed in floors, walls, or ceilings by cutting a small hole in the area, securing a mount, and then sliding a larger compartment onto it.   

He said most people should be able to install the device themselves, although a flyer on the website called “The Game Changing Mouse Trap” says the product would be marketed specifically to architects, builders, and developers to pre-install.

Barto said the idea for a new mousetrap came to him around the same time his family moved into a newly built house. Not long after they had moved, they heard scratching in the attic.

“Of course we were too lazy to do anything at first,” Barto said during a recent interview at the Peterborough Diner. “But my wife complained over and over and over again.”

He said they lived with the noise for about a year, the family waking up aggravated most mornings by the incessant noise. Barto said he found out through the process that the builder never cut a crawl space into the house’s attic, which meant the space was inaccessible.

“One day I was just sitting in the office and I was thinking, ‘what am I going to do?’” Barto said. “And I looked up and saw the smoke alarm and a light went off in my head.”

He thought about using the same type of design for a mousetrap.

“And that was it,” Barto said.

Given the right design and materials, Barto thought the invention could work well.

Barto said he was eventually forced to hire someone to cut a crawl space into the attic and the incessant scratching noise turned out to be bats, not mice.

But he already knew he was onto something with the mousetrap invention.

Over the course of the next four years he honed the  idea. His son James, who is now a fifth grader in the ConVal school district, came up with the idea of a swinging door that would prevent mice from falling through the hole when the device is being cleared. James became a co-inventor.

Barto said he recently secured a 20-year patent for the device. In September, he presented the idea at a Makers Event in Chicago. Barto said he was given a 20-minute window, which broke down into a 15-minute presentation and a five minute question and answer session. Only a couple of minutes into the pitch, he said three panel members basically took over and started making a case for the product.

“It was the best feeling,” Barto said.

He said he got the sense that the panelists were genuinely interested in making a deal to manufacture it under their brand.

But that was months ago and Barto says he hasn't heard much since.

“I honestly have no idea if we are still in the game or not,” Barto said. “ I am trying to remain patient as I know these things take time, but it is very difficult to sit back and not email or call them every day.”

Barto said he’s sunk about $20,000 into the investment already, a lump sum that has put some financial strain on the family.

Right now, he said he would be happy to recover the money he has invested in the project. Anything on top of that would be a bonus.

Barto said he’s always trying to come up with ideas for inventions, which range from the absurd to the practical, although he wouldn’t elaborate on any others that he has come up with. 

His hope is that eventually one of the inventions will catch and he’ll be able to pass it onto his son James.

“I really want to hand it down to him,” Barto said while sipping coffee from a small white mug at the diner. “I want to give him something to start him out.”