Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 40: Early Production Newhouse No. 6 Slick Pan Bear Trap

Auction Date: May 13, 2022

Scarce and Desirable Early Production Newhouse No. 6 Slick Pan Bear Trap

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $3,500 - $5,500

Scarce and Desirable Early Production Newhouse No. 6 Slick Pan Bear Trap

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 1488
Item Interest: Very Active
Catalog Page: 40
Class: Other

This massive bear trap weighing in at about 50 pounds was manufactured c. 1850 to 1855 by Sewell Newhouse of Oneida County, New York. He began making traps in the early 1800s, at first by using metal scraps from his father's blacksmith shop. In 1849, Newhouse joined a religious community started by John Humphrey Noyes and continued making traps by hand. The business gradually grew until becoming a primary manufacturing operation for the community. Their primary sellers were always smaller traps, such as those for beaver, with reported sales in 1864 being 7,250 beaver traps compared to only 30 bear traps, making these large game traps incredibly scarce. This variation of the Newhouse bear trap is often referred to as a "slick pan" as the pan/trigger mechanism is unmarked, unlike later models which bore the Oneida Newhouse markings. This example with the Newhouse markings on top of each spring has large teeth riveted to the jaws with square rivets and is fitted with a short length of anchoring chain. The chain is the original length and it retains the original swivel, a component that is often missing from surviving examples.

Rating Definition:

Very good, showing mostly a smooth brown patina overall and some scattered mild oxidation giving the appearance of a trap that was actually used for its intended purpose. It appears to function as it should.

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