This device at Smith’s Tavern is a long spring foothold trap, which is one of the oldest types of footholds in existence and is still commonly used today. It is a simple, well-functioning trap built to last. Long spring traps come in many different sizes and two configurations – single spring and double spring (the device at Smith’s Tavern is the former).
The basics behind the long spring trap are simple. When the trap’s jaws are opened, long metal springs are compressed and held that way by the tension of the jaws, which are held open with a trigger controlled by a pan. When the pan moves and the trigger releases, the spring opens, which forces the jaws shut. The chain and “O” ring were used to secure the trap to the ground.