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!

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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®

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


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.


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


Kness Manufacturing Company moved to Albia, IA.


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.

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


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


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

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Kness Manufacturing Co. incorporated in the state of Iowa.


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.


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


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


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


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

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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.


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


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


Out with the old and in with the new! State-of-the-art injection molding equipment was installed at the Kness Mfg. facility.


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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