Did you know that Mascot was once home to the only mouse trap factory in the Southern Hemisphere? A.W Standfield’s Supreme Mouse Trap Factory in Baxter Road held this title from 1943 until its closure in 2000. Looking at the photographs below, it’s hard to believe that this little family-run business stood just a stone’s throw from Sydney Airport.
Wes Standfield, the factory’s founder, loved inventing things and at the heart of the factory was his homemade trap making machine. Constructed entirely out of second hand parts, it changed very little in its 57 years of operation. Unlike other factories in the Botany area that constantly looked to increase production, it stood in stark contrast to modern practices.
The machine’s counter stopped years ago however it was believed to have pumped out 40-60 000 traps a week. The factory produced every part of their traps, from the springs to the wooden bases. Below you can see Wes Standfield (right) out the back of his factory, cutting felled trees to produce trap bases.
Standfield’s first traps were reusable and made of metal. This model was later replaced by a cheaper wood base model that customers could dispose of after it had killed its prey.
The factory also produced a larger trap known as the Choker, or “the family finisher”, which you can see below. It could trap four mice and claimed to produce “no blood, no noise”. To set the trap, bait, such as bread, needed to be placed on the hook inside and the top metal clips pushed down. Once a mouse placed his head inside the hole and triggered the hook, the clip would rise choking the mouse.
Besides their famous traps, the company also churned out a series of side lines such as clothes pegs and pot stands. These goods kept the factory going when demand for traps was low.
The objects and photos displayed here were donated to the museum in 2011 by Ron and Julie Standfield. They were first displayed in our 2011 exhibition Made in Botany.