It all started back in 1956.
Neumann and his friend
Bennetts really had in mind was cutting down the cost of their own decoys. They
were trying to figure out how to make a plastic duck that would be both durable and
inexpensive. It took them months of experimenting to find the answer. As a
result of trying to save dollars, they've invented a new plastic duck that promises to put
them in business. In fact, they've already taken out a copyright on their decoy.
Sportsmen all over the nation are clamoring for copies. It's no wonder there is already a
demand, for these two hunters have concocted a vinyl creature who meets every
qualification for a superior decoy!
1. It is realistic in design.
2. It rights itself no mater how it hits the water (and this balancing
wasn't easy to figure out!)
3. It's practically indestructible-you can drop it.
Crush it-even run
a car over it and still it bounces back into shape.
4. It withstands the high heat required in the mold, but will also
stay soft in freezing weather on the pond or lake.
5. It is not only weatherproof but self sealing if hit by shot at
close range. At average shooting range it will shed the shot.
Neumann & Bennetts first thought they would make a fiberglass
duck. But after several experiments, they began work on a plaster mold for the
decoy. In figuring out the technique and formula for the molding. They had the help of a
friend, Dr. Leininger who is a physicist and chemist.
The amateur duo then built a machine to do the job, and put the process into several
It may sound easy, but-like all inventions-it had
plenty of disappointments, still it looks as if these two, who had in mind
making only a dozen or so ducks to cut their hunting season expenses ended up
making ducks by the millions!
Ed Snyder Decoy Carver
Ed Snyder was born in Sacramento on January 9,
1928 and grew up in Bird's Landing, It might be more accurate to say the Ed grew up on the
sloughs and bays of the Suisun marsh. His instinct for waterfowl and water
He first began carving in 1941, when he
was thirteen years old, inspired by the decoys of his grandfather, Wendell
Miller, It didn't take long for word of young Ed's decoys to get around, and he
was soon selling them for $ 60 a dozen and repainting them for a dollar a
piece." I could paint fifty decoys by noon and cool of the rest of the
day," he says now. "Fifty dollars a day back then, you were a high roller."
Ed carved the bodies of the decoys from balsa wood that he obtained-as did
many others-from cast off Navy life rafts. For heads he liked to use Sugar Pine, and this
he obtained by salvaging the drain boards from old houses that were being torn down.
"There was a regular scuffle to get those drain boards," Ed says. "It was
about the only place you could get Sugar Pine."
His tools were basic: a band saw, a pocket knife and sandpaper. The fully
carved decoys were boiled in a mixture of linseed oil and litharge, which hardened them
and made them less likely to absorb water. Then he pained the decoys with colors in oil
mixed into a base of white Fuller house paint. When the paint was dry, the decoys were
ready to go.
Ed worked full time at his decoy making until 1951, when he put down his
knives and became a bartender for Bill Foster of Foster's Big Horn Bar in Rio Vista. Ed
worked in the Big Horn for twenty-four years, then went to operating drawbridges, a task
he use to perform. he picked up his tools again in 1970 when he began making contemporary
waterfowl carvings. These modern decoys, while lacking the highly individualistic style
and attitude of Ed's early work, are highly prized for their beauty, craftsmanship, and
for master of the entire spectrum of waterfowl carving in the West.
Ed has been carving some of our originals for quite some time now. If you
would like to contact Ed Snyder you can visit his web site at: