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Turkey Calls --E L Wisor

E. L. (Ed) Wisor

West Decatur, PA


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Ed Wisor is well known for his unique, patented, compact slate turkey call. His round slate call is 2 1/2" high by 2" in diameter and is manufactured in a unique two-piece method. The top slate part fits snugly over the bottom peg part providing a compact call that can easily be slipped into a pocket and taken into the woods.

He made his first calls in 1962 and filed for a patent on April 16, 1963. Ed made about 40 calls in the beginning that were glued together using three parts for the top slate half and three parts for the bottom peg half. He then switched to the one piece construction for both the slate and peg parts of the call. His very first calls did not have a label but instead were stamped with a rubber stamp. His very first labeled calls were given a silver label with "Patent Pending" printed on them. Subsequent calls had a yellow label with the "Patent Pending" printed on them.

He officially received the patent for his call on Sept. 28, 1965. Soon after receiving the patent, he was approached by the Penn's Woods company who had an interest in selling the calls.

Frank Piper of Penn's Woods wanted to sell the "E. L. Wisor" call under the name "Roger Latham Slate". Ed was greatly in favor of this idea because he really appreciated the effort that Roger Latham put into restoring the wild turkey and thought it would be an honor to sell his call under that name with the Penn's Woods company. Many of the pioneers of the wild turkey restoration effort, like Roger Latham, are under appreciated and this was his way of recognizing Mr. Latham's contribution.

Penn's Woods began purchasing and selling the "Roger Latham Slate" call in the fall of 1965. The Penn's Woods orders kept E. L. and his family very busy. If he got a large order in, it was often a family affair to get the calls made in time with his wife helping out by gluing on the pieces of slate. During this time period, most of the wood pieces for the Roger Latham Slate were contracted out to other manufacturers. Ed simply did not have the time to do a full-time job and complete the Penn's Woods orders on time. Instead, he let others help machine the wood pieces and he assembled and finished the calls.

Production for Penn's Woods averaged about 4,000 calls a year from 1965 to 1984 with a total of about 90,000 calls made. There was also a limited edition of 1,995 "Classic Edition" calls made from walnut in 1991.

Ed continued to make calls under his own name during the period he was wholesaling calls to Penn's Woods. After he received the patent, he used a yellow label on his calls with the patent number printed on it. This label was available from somewhere around 1966 to about 1968. Many of these labels had problems sticking to the call which prompted Ed to change the labels again. The next labels were silver again but this time with the patent number on them and they were available from about 1968 to 1995. He began stamping the date inside the calls during this period but it is not known exactly which year this started.The final series of his calls had brown labels and were dated from 1995 to 2000.

Most of the calls sold under the "E. L. Wisor" name were mahogany and the calls wholesaled to the Penn's Woods company were mainly maple and birch with a limited number of mahogany and walnut calls. A small number of the Silver Label calls were made from maple. The calls were were made with just a sanded surface and did not have a finish on them since any type of oil or finish would have a tendency to get on the slate, ruining its sound.

E. L. retired in 2000 and stopped selling his calls commercially. Throughout his career, Ed estimated he produced around 16,000 calls with his name on them. He has recently produced a limited edition of seven calls with custom artwork to commemorate the anniversary of his callmaking in 1999. Throughout the years before 1999, he also personalized about 50 calls which were mainly given as gifts to friends and family members.

He is currently producing signed, limited edition calls, some with artwork, from the calls left in his stockroom. These are generally being auctioned off on Ebay so keep an eye out for them.


(I'd like to thank Ed for taking the time to tell me the story of his call making career and helping me with this article. -- Rob Ramsdale)





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