In the US prior to 1935 market hunting was a big business. Hunters used punt guns, bait and live decoys in order to take as many ducks as possible for the commercial market. While mechanical duck calls were known as early as 1850 the demand for calls mushroomed after live decoys were outlawed.
Many years ago one of my best friends got involved [ obsessed ] with duck calls. He eventually wrote the book on calls of the Illinois fly way. Through proximity I to got involved and the next thing I knew I owned a lathe. Duck call making is how I learned to turn on the lathe. I have no idea how many calls I made but there were a lot of them in the hundreds I’m sure, at that time I did not photograph my work and all the calls were sold and I have no idea where they are. Every once in a while one comes up for sale on eBay. Luckily my friend who has several of my calls sent me pictures of his and here they are.
Two of my early calls and two of the first things I ever turned on a lathe.
Next I started to carve the calls after turning.
From here I think they slowly improve.
I have not made a call in at least 20 years, but every once in a while some one calls wanting one, but I don’t have any, it is however flattering that there is still a little demand.