At a recent behind the scenes tour of the Rock Island Auction Company, my guide was called away and I was handed off to the nearest employee. I found out that working for IT may not be the most exciting job, but it has its perks when you work at RIAC. “I was walking through the back one day and came across something I had never seen. It was a small gun with a spike to stick into the ground. It also had a ring on a short chain that activated the trigger. I figured you were supposed to tie a string or something to the ring.
“It was percussion era, so I knew it was cap and ball. I was hired to work for IT because I’m not one of the gun experts, but most of the items we see are generally easy to identify. Even if there is an odd configuration or something and I don’t know the history, the describers usually will off of the top of their head. However, they were not around and this one had me stymied. I kept staring at it, determined to figure it out. In the end, I think it was some kind of bobby trap although I have never asked anyone to confirm it,” said my anonymous IT guide.
Suddenly my IT Guy turned tour guide announced, “there’s one.” I must admit it was off my radar too. Undaunted, and with a now-piqued interest, I scoured the volumes in RIAC’s research library in search of information about the proposed booby trap. Okay, in truth, I looked at the booking slip for the product name and punched it up on my phone’s Internet, but that’s semantics and does not make for as great a story.
It was an odd little invention known as the Taylor Fur Getter. The ring was not for a string, but rather the bait, and when a fox or whatever critter pulled on the bait …well, essentially it committed suicide by shooting itself in the face.
Today, the Taylor Fur Getter would be illegal to produce and sell because of its short barrel length and it is certainly illegal and dangerous to use. However, since this little known piece of history was placed on the Curio and Relics list by the ATF—to keep it from falling under the short-barreled weapon and dangerous device auspices of the National Firearms Act of 1934— you can pick one up for anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000.