2024 marks the 100th anniversary of a momentous technological innovation: the Ketch-All® Multiple Catch Mousetrap. This mousetrap was invented by Austin Enos “Brick” Kness and revolutionized pest defense, providing a humane and effective way to protect homes from mice.

The original prototype was made from a square oil can, a tuxedo tobacco can, a spring from a curtain rod, and the wood base of a crate – all components that came together to revolutionize pest defense. Catching five mice on its first night, it quickly became an indispensable tool in the fight against pests.

In celebration of this anniversary, we look back on the century of advances and refinements that have defined our brand and our pest defense solutions. We are honored to continue the tradition of providing innovative, effective pest control solutions for customers around the world. Here’s to another 100 years!

Your best defense for

1924

Austin Kness revolutionized the mousetrap industry in 1924 when he developed the world’s first multiple-catch mousetrap. This product would eventually become the Ketch-All®.

1927

In 1927, Austin Kness formed the Kness Manufacturing Company to produce his unique inventions, including the innovative Ketch-All® Mousetrap.

1929

Unfortunately, the Great Depression forced Kness to close his business. Despite this setback, he persevered and kept producing mousetraps from salvaged materials while raising his six children as a single father.

1940

Austin Kness made a comeback when his Ketch-All® Mousetrap earned fifth place in an international mousetrap contest.

1944

Kness Manufacturing Company moved to Albia, IA.

1945

The version of Ketch-All that we use today is filed with the US Patent Office. Austin’s sons returned from serving in World War II and began working with their father at Kness Manufacturing Company. Though they experienced hardships during the post-war years, the Kness family took on other jobs to help finance the company.

1946

Pictured: An article published in October 1946 from the Des Moines Tribune about Austin Kness and Kness mousetraps.

1947

Pictured: Clippings from an article published in March 1947 from the Ottumwa Courier about Kness mousetraps and Austin Kness’s other accomplishments.

1955

“The Iowan” magazine published a feature on Austin Kness and Kness Mfg. in their May 1955 edition.

Read the full article

1962

Kness Manufacturing Co. incorporated in the state of Iowa.

1974

In the early 70s, new requirements were passed by OSHA for food processors in the United States to use box traps to reduce rodent hair particles in the air. As a result, Kness built a new factory to help keep up with the sudden demand for its signature Ketch-All - the only product of its kind in the industry.

C. 1975

Pictured: Kness employees at work producing mousetraps, and an article published in an unknown year about Kness mousetraps.

1976

Pictured: an article published in March 1976 from the Ottumwa Courier about the new Kness facility.

1982

Pictured: Lester E. Kness showing off the Snap-E Mousetrap in October 1982.

1986

Pictured: an article published in March 1986 from the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch about Kness mousetraps

2000

"Iowa Commerce" magazine published a feature on the Kness company.

Read the full article

2016

Kness’s rebranding was launched. Described as “a new day” for Kness by President Kathy Wauson, this marketing effort included a new brand name and positioning, logo, responsive website, product collateral, and more.

2017

The current Kness Pest Defense icon, created for the 2016 rebrand, was filed with the US Trademark Office.

2020

The Ketch-All received a Retailers’ Choice Award from the National Hardware Show.

2023

Brand new, state-of-the-art injection molding equipment was installed at the Kness Mfg. facility

2024

Kness Pest Defense celebrates the 100th anniversary of its inception.

Here’s to another 100! Stay tuned to see where goes next.

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