Many pediatricians post photos in their office of the children they have cared for over the years. Dr. Kieran Kammerer posts photos of children – most of whom he doesn’t know – on his website and Facebook page.

877761_38746 Rattles.jpgThe photos come from all over the world – 12 countries, and most of the states – and have one thing in common: Each baby is holding one of the wooden “heirloom rattles” that Kammerer makes in his home woodworking shop. The infants are staring at the rattles with that funny look of baby confusion, or smiling as they shake it to hear the dried pinto beans clatter inside. Others are doing what babies do best: stuffing it into their mouths. No worries, the rattles are covered with a baby-safe finish of mineral oil and beeswax.

Kammerer, who practices medicine in Augusta, also makes furniture, bowls and wine stoppers. He estimates he’s turned out more than 1,000 rattles in the five years he’s been producing them. They are made with a combination of domestic and imported exotic hardwoods; neither of the imported woods he uses is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Appendices or on the Red List of Threatened Species put together by the International Union on Conservation of Nature.

You might think that Kammerer, having been a pediatrician for 23 years, has a built-in customer base, but he sees his daily work and his side business as a “conflict of interest” and is careful not to promote the rattles in his office. When parents ask about the rattles, he sends them to his Facebook page.

38746 Rattles1The rattles cost $35, but most customers spend an extra $14 to have them engraved with the baby’s name, date of birth, and/or weight and length at birth. Customers occasionally choose a unique engraving, Kammerer says, such as the time someone asked for: “We loved you before you were even born.”

Kammerer does little to no advertising. There’s no need to, he says, since many of his orders are from repeat customers and word-of-mouth.

“I like hearing the personal stories when I talk to people,” he said. “They tell me how the rattle was accepted.

“For me, it’s extra nice when I’m turning a rattle and I know the family.”

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