Charles R. Disbrow (1885-1955) Stratford, CT
Charles Disbrow was Stratford's game warden, and judging from the few examples of his work, he carved very few decoys, perhaps two dozen in all. The existing decoys are of cork or wood, the wooden ones being large and heavy. The latter decoys were made of two or three boards nailed together with little or no hollowing at all. Disbrow purposely made the bodies thick, because he thought they should ride high on the water. The heads of his decoys are accordingly large and thick, set on heavy necks and featuring long straight bills and glass eyes. Disbrow's lures were not very impressive until Shang Wheeler introduced his own style to Disbrow, allowing him to achieve the high quality of his more recent carvings. This transition from mediocre to excellent carne about in stages with some intermediate decoys displaying well-carved bodies and less refined heads. By the time Disbrow's style had fully developed, it became close to impossible to distinguish between his and Wheeler's work. Even so, some inconsistencies remain that bar a true life-like appearance. Disbrow placed his eyes too low and far back on the head and lacked the correct detailed carving at the head-to-bill joint. Even so, one of Charles Disbrow's black duck decoys earned him a first place at the 1950 or 1951 National Decoy Show (Mackey, American 70, Starr 70.