If you “build a better mousetrap,” Ralph Waldo Emerson supposedly told us, “the world will beat a path to your door.”

But, c’mon, who does that anymore?

Roger Arquer, it turns out.

Using off-the-shelf items such as beer glasses and soy sauce bottles, Arquer has built traps designed “only to catch mice, not to kill them. It’s up to the catcher to decide the future of the mouse.”

One of his coolest designs he calls Mouse in a Light Bulb. He cuts a large light bulb, lays it on its side, and then inserts a small weight and, natch, a chunk of cheese. When the critter enters, the weight “is released and the light bulb tilts straight up, catching the mouse inside.”

You can see the magic in the three photographs below.

8 Responses to “Innovation for those who hate meeces to pieces”

  1. Seth Godin says:

    The triptych of photos is worthy of display in the Tate Gallery.

    So many metaphors and connections here, Dan, about the trapped, the trapper and the world we live in. The greedy and easily manipulated mouse, the controlling but invisible hand that seeks to take him away and the stark clarity of machined items, made in mass, to scale up this endeavor.

    Not sure you intended to, but this was chilling to see.

  2. Nate says:

    Great comment Seth… now who moved my cheese?!

    This trap is a great innovation (and good use of old, inefficient light bulbs).

    Its also art.

    But in our Connecticut town, we prefer to coexist with animals (even if we think they are pests). They’re just trying to live like the rest of us.

  3. Randy says:

    Does there need to be a weight in the bulb to mitigate the mouse attempting to climb out and rolling the bulb back over?

  4. Dave Freeman says:

    This is great. I often get the feeling that we’re about to be hit by a wave of innovation that will turn our world upside down. Designers with brains wired in this new digital age are processing things so differently. I recently read Rapture For The Geeks by Richard Dooling (good read by the way) and then I sat down with my kids and watched WALL.E. What an eye opener.

  5. Dan Pink Dan Pink says:

    @seth —

    Fascinating points all.

    And yet, this mousetrap is supposed to be better because it’s kinder and gentler. No death. Only isolation — but also the promise of release.

    It’s not the death penalty. It’s solitary confinement — with a window.

  6. Regardless of one’s thoughts/feelings about catching vs. killing mice, this is sheer innovative brilliance. As Dave Freeman pointed out, it does feel like the world is about to be hit with a wave of innovative genius. Thanks for posting this Dan (and as you said, chilling comment from Seth).

    With Gratitude,


  7. @trishuhl says:


    LOL But what does it say about me that my first thoughts were – Does the kind of cheese matter? Does it have to be particularly stinky cheese, so the scent wafts out from the glass? I’ve always assumed mice find cheese by following their noses – but maybe it’s by sight. If that’s the case, would a lightbulb of another tinted colour work equally as well?

    Waxing philosophic on releasing captured mice or contemplating the cold precision of the trap are not – apparently – my musings this evening.

    I’m more curious in why it works – and tinkering with variations.

    My poor cats are in for a fun filled evening. 🙂


  8. QB says:

    if such a small weight can hold it down then wouldn’t the mouse just as easily push it down to be free?

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