Ned John Hauser (1826-1900) Sandusky, OH
Ned Hauser emigrated from Germany at the age of twenty-one and took up painting for the Sandusky, Mansfield and Newark railroad, later renamed the Baltimore and Ohio (Kangas, Survey 168). Hauser was an avid music lover and repaired and built string instruments on the side. Though he suffered from rheumatism and heart trouble, Hauser was known as a learned botanist and talented hunter. He was the earliest and most prominent of the Ohio carvers and earned the title of father of the Ohio school. Between 1850 and 1880, Hauser produced decoys that feature quite a few characteristics typical of East Coast decoys (Engers 201). He constructed his decoys using two equally sized pieces of wood that he hollowed out. Following a practice common to New Jersey, Hauser joined the top and bottom pieces with two vertical dowels running from the top of the decoy and through the bottom. Hauser decoys feature carved eyes, long fragile bills and rounded chests that lead into refined necks. Tails turn up just a bit and sheet lead weights balance the bird. Hauser did not carve many decoys and limited species to what he used for hunting, namely canvasbacks and mallards, though one solid bufflehead hen has been attributed to him. With a rig of only eight to ten decoys and a sneak boat he built himself, Ned Hauser hunted the Cedar Point and Lower Sandusky Bay Marshes carefully placing instead of throwing his decoys on the water.