An extremely rare Victorian novelty silver Vesta Case made in the form of a Penny Mouse Trap, with attached suspension ring and sprung hinged lid.
By William Oliver, Birmingham, 1887.
Also stamped with a registered design number - 86440.
To open the case, the hinged lever is folded back and pressure is applied against the spring. It opens and closes tightly and firmly.
The little Penny Mouse trap was made in enormous numbers in the last quarter of the 19th century. The ‘penny’ trap, often referred to as the ‘common’ trap, cost about one penny each. In use, the end-flap arm is lightly set under the bait hook wire.
When the bait is disturbed the end-flap quickly closes under the influence of two small coiled torsion springs. It was made of softwood with wire bars across the top and end.