The rather nice Bioimplement blog, which alas is updated somewhat infrequently has a particularly detailed overview of the history of the mousetrap. The mousetrap is often cited to illustrate the concept of irreducible complexity: a device which could not function with one of its parts missing. Irreducible complexity is one of those important concepts of Intelligent Design creationism, helping ID creationists posit the existence of a
god designer because the ID creationist cannot conceive how complexity can arise through non-supernatural means.
Anyway, a new article at Bioimplement traces the patent history of the modern day mousetrap (The mouse trap, redux), and finds it has a rather neat evolutionary history, which can be traced back to a fish hook.
The article itself is splendidly detailed, and is an entertaining read. Well worth reading.