The History of Mouse Trap Cars

The mousetrap can catch mice and was also the prototype of the mousetrap car.

A mousetrap car is a vehicle that uses a mousetrap for motor power. Larger mousetrap cars, however, have rat traps. Science teachers often use experiments with mousetrap cars to help students develop spatial and problem-solving skills.

1 Description

A mousetrap, or rat trap, lies at the center of a mousetrap car. The car also includes two or four wheels on each side. The mousetrap's spring powers the car once it is released.

2 History

James Henry Atkinson, a British scientist, invented the mousetrap in 1897. His invention, known as the "Little Nipper," received a patent in 1897. The mousetrap was the prototype of the mousetrap car.

3 Larger Significance

Physics teachers use mousetrap cars to help students gain hands-on experience. Due to its helical spring, a mousetrap car obeys Hooke's Law, which is the equation for torsion springs. Mousetrap boats and mousetrap planes are variations of the mousetrap car.

Therese Rochon is a college student and freelance writer from St. Louis. She is studying English and Spanish literature at Washington University and plans to attend law school in the future. She speaks two languages and, in 2011, will au pair in Europe to learn two more languages. She has been writing online since 2005.