The Cover of Turkey World October 1943
The Bronze Turkey that is featured on the cover of the 1943 Turkey World magazine is very much like the turkey raised by Frank Reese Jr. today. In the 1940’s the turkey industry was just beginning to find its place, they were starting to discuss the best varieties and their use, and the best methods for selecting breeders for next year’s production. Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch uses these articles to choose the best methods for our operation. After all, we at Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch are not inventing heritage practices, we are rediscovering them. The turkey industry in 1943 was trying to find the best management practices to insure the best quality and Breeder Companies (family names) were advertising their genetics as the best. Showing a turkey was not just for a ribbon, it meant that you could get a better market share for your poults. Turkey World was a magazine dedicated to gathering information for the producers and even in the 1980's Frank would read through it to find out the latest in industry standards. This October 1943 Turkey World features a discussion of proposing a standard for the Broad Breasted Bronze. The 1943 Broad Breasted Bronze was a naturally mating bird unlike the Broad Breasted White turkeys commercially grown today. Arthur O. Shilling, internationally famous poultry artist, was employed to paint a portrait of the ideal bird of this breed. The job assigned to Artist Shilling was one of the most difficult any painter ever attempted. He was faced by the problem—“What are the characteristics of the ideal Broad Breasted Bronze?” A number of photographs were submitted to add to schilling’s extensive knowledge of this turkey. Sketches were drawn and submitted to leading breeders and after many changes a sketch was approved.
The final painting has drawn favorable comments from all who have inspected it. Breeders especially were pleased that the artist caught the typical Broad Breast shape and at the same time was able to portray that all important characteristic—good balance of body parts. At great cost, Turkey World reproduced this painting on the cover of its October 1943 issue.
The producers of turkeys in 1943 were in a period of great stress, when many problems seemed insurmountable. They were proud of their industry and they challenged themselves to have a place at our dinner table.
A question in the minds of breeders at the time was, are these different breeds of turkeys or different varieties? The American Poultry Association has concluded that there is one breed of turkey. Some feel that the BBW commercially grown today is a separate breed from the A.P.A standard bred birds of 1943 these turkeys may be referred to as “unimproved”.