Lynch Calls

Lynch World Champion with manual and 45 rpm instructional record.

M. L. Lynch, a furniture maker from Homewood, Alabama (suburb of Birmingham), began making box calls in his shop and selling them out of the trunk of his car throughout the South in the 40's. While Lynch experimented with various woods, he finally settled on mahogany for the box and straight-grained walnut for the lids of the Fool Proof and World Champion calls. Like many traveling salesmen, not to mention evangelists, Lynch would typically set up on a street corner in a new town and draw folks in--in Lynch's case, by calling with one of his boxes, then making sales and teaching his customers how to use them. After selling many boxes throughout the southeast and establishing his reputation and that of his calls, Lynch sold the business in 1969-1970 to Allen Jenkins, who moved the operation ultimately to Thomasville, Georgia, where the company continues to produce calls that are still the standard workhorse call of choice for many hunters. Mr. Lynch died in 1974.

Widely regarded as examples of quality and craftsmanship, the early Lynch "Birmingham" calls are highly valued as collector's items. A Lynch Fool Proof made in Birmingham recently sold for $260 at one internet auction site. Two World Champions went for $91 and $113, respectively.

Side views and close-ups of Fool Proof (left) and World Champion showing Birmingham address

Closeup of well-used Lynch World Champion (in the title pic with manual and record). This call has clearly seen some action and held up well.

The Fool Proof call has an interesting design. The off-center hinge screw fixes the pivot so that the lid makes a consistent arc every time; also, the side of the call that doesn't sound is raised to provide a positive stop for the lid. Hence, it is "fool proof" since its operation is fixed and it produces a consistent sound each time it is used. The rubber bands help increase the tension between the lid and the box and, in the case of the World Champion, enable the hunter to produce a decent sounding gobble by holding it upside-down by the base and giving it a shake. Since many hunters don't use gobble calls for safety reasons or personal preference, some hunters prefer to use the World Champion without the rubber bands, so they remove them.

According to Howard Harlan's Turkey Calls, Allen Jenkins bought the company from Mr. Lynch in 1969. Lynch boxes made in 1970 still had the Birmingham address, but were made by Jenkins, rather than Lynch. After 1970, the calls show a Liberty, Miss. address on them. I have no idea if there is any way to tell a 1970 Lynch call from a Lynch call made in previous years, but if anyone knows how, or where to find out, please let me know.

Lynch "turkey in the pines" calls (not pictured) typically go for $400-$800 at recent internet auctions. Those calls were straight-sided and had imprints on each side of a turkey and pine trees. According to Earl Mickel's first book, Turkey Callmakers, Past and Present, these calls were made in 1950 and 1951. After that, Lynch went to the grooved sides--still standard on Lynch boxes, as well as many other calls--so the large imprinting wasn't possible. One other note, Mr. Harlan mentions in his book that by the late sixties, Mr. Lynch was making 15,000 calls per year, and also writes that newspaper accounts in the early 50's say that Mr. Lynch was making 100 calls per week. It sounds like there must be a lot of early Lynch box calls out there somewhere.