William T. Enright (1913-1979) Toledo, OH
William Enright spent much of his time hunting on the perimeters of Lake Erie and carving working decoys. Few of his birds were carved from wood; he preferred to work with cork. The pine heads of the decoys remain durable and represent content and alert attitudes. Enright also carved the heads in a variety of positions to portray the activities of birds at ease on the water. Using a rasp, Enright textured the surfaces of the heads and detailed the sturdy bills with nostrils, nails and mandible separations. Enright did not apply this much surface detail to the rest of the bodies however, and carved only a hint of feathers across the wings.
Enright produced a fair range of species including black ducks, bluebills, canvasbacks, geese, mallards, pintails and redheads. He sold these decoys commercially between the 1930's and 1960's and even carved some miniatures for sale (Engers 202). During this period of increased productivity, Enright entered the 1948 National Decoy Makers contest in New York City. Instead of carving special decoys for the competition, Enright randomly selected working decoys from his own rig and ended up winning several prizes and beating the likes of Shang Wheeler. Though competing won him national recognition, he felt that the combination of competition, judging and prizes lured sportsmen away from the original intent of carving. To retain his own integrity, Enright ceased entering contests, but continued carving until his death.