Duck Calls – An Enduring American Folk Art

Jan 7th, 2011 | By | Category: Publications

Duck Calls – An Enduring American Folk Art

The history and evolution of the American duck call is a culmination of over twenty years of collecting and research on the subject.  Duck Calls-An Enduring American Folk Art presents photographs and advertisements on a scale never before undertaken of calls and their makers from past and present.  This book presents  this craft as a true American Folk Art form.

No one knows exactly who invented the first duck call or when and where it was constructed. Howard Harlan and W. Crew Anderson, coauthors of Duck Calls: An Enduring American Folk Art, discovered what may be the first evidence of their existence in an 1854 Nathaniel Currier art print, in which a dapper sportsman is depicted with a primitive tongue-pincher-style call tucked in his breast pocket. In 1863, Fred Allen of Monmouth, Illinois, is believed to have fashioned the first modern-appearing duck call, consisting of a barrel, stopper, and internal reed assembly. A few decades later, another early master, Victor Glodo, developed a more effective design, which he put to good use as a market hunter on Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake. Over time, many individuals experimented with and improved upon these early prototypes. Another major innovation occurred in 1957, when Texans Jim Fernandez and George Yentzen patented the first double-reed duck call.

The evolution of the modern duck call continues today, as call making has grown into a multimillion-dollar industry. While many call makers now mass produce their wares in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, others continue to painstakingly fashion calls by hand, upholding the grand traditions of their craft. Visit your local sporting goods retailer and you are likely to find a plethora of duck calls made of almost every conceivable material, from traditional woods to space-age acrylics.

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