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The Man Behind the Name: Brick's Journey to Lasting Innovation

The Man Behind the Name: Brick's Journey to Lasting Innovation

Albia, IA (April 2, 2024) – How does a janitor create a third-generation, family-owned lineup of pest control products that spans 100 years? With a little bit of the entrepreneurial spirit and a whole lot of innovation.

The year is 1924, and Austin Enos “Brick” Kness is a 34-year-old widower with six kids at home. While the economy is on the brink of the worst economic downturn in history, Brick takes a job at an Iowa high school as a janitor. Mice are prevalent at the Midwestern school, a single trap unfit for catching the influx of rodents infesting the country school.

Taking matters into his own hands, Brick finds a large, square oil can, a small tuxedo tobacco can, a spring from a curtain rod, and wood from the base of a crate. Fashioning the items into a trap, he sets it up in the school overnight. The next day, the makeshift trap is found with seven mice inside. Word scatters around the school, and soon, everyone is asking Brick to build them a trap.

As time went on and mice were caught, Brick acquired a patent for his ingenious design. Just three years after his discovery, a manufacturing company in his namesake was formed, replicating the trusty trap for schools and homes alike.

Today, on shelves across the country, you can find the oil-can-tobacco-curtain-rod invention, nowadays referred to as the Ketch-All®. Its inventor is the one and only Brick, better known by his last name, now trusted for over a century: Kness.


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