As far back as people can remember, swarms of flies can be a bit of a dampener to a nice summer’s day. Even one insect on its own in a house is generally considered as enough of a pest to want rid of fast, and if there are no ways of getting it out safely and quickly, then what else can you do than make a short life shorter? The flyswatter is the product that has given people the tools to do this without getting their hands dirty, but who first developed this plastic producer of pain?
The man generally credited with this invention is Frank H. Rose, who created the ‘fly bat’ in 1905 as a plastic screen attached to a yardstick, made as a flexible way to take down the insect. Rose only created this device in response to Dr. Samuel Crumbine’s public awareness campaign that summer in Topeka (USA), reportedly using the term ‘swat’ after hearing it at a local softball game.
While the flyswatter is undoubtedly a popular cheap product even today (usually with a more streamlined, fully plastic appearance), a modernised twist on the classic design comes in the form of the electric flyswatter. First sold in 1995 (with development origins as far back as the 1950’s), the battery-powered device looks more like a tennis racket (has anyone tried a potential game there?) with three layers of metal mesh wire designed to protect the user (the outer layers protect the centrally-charged mesh) and provide an aerodynamic swing, with a button used to release the power with user control.
Current electric flyswatters are capable of producing 1000-2500 volts of power, though consumer safety regulations prevent the device from being able to make a one-shot kill on a fly, though continued holding of the power button causes the insect victim to ‘cook’…
The electric version of the flyswatter, combined with the modern appeal of YouTube, can create a series of interesting videos, from displaying the power of the device in a dark room, to a demonstration of what happens when you stick your tounge inside: