Gust Pufohl laid claim to the title in the 1920's. Who is to argue? Note the necklaces here are carved from one piece of wood. That's right...one board was cut down complete with links in the wooden chain. Little wooden dodaddles like this are called whimsys or whimsies in the antique trade. They were once common but peaked around the same time as radio...and declined like a stone when the TV (excuse me..."flat screen") remote began to fit into the hand better than a pocket knife. Mr. Pufohl is himself illustrated on page 129 of "Real Photo Postcard Guide" by Bogdan and Weseloh...which you can purchase following the Amazon link to the right.
Gust Pufohl "See Wonderful Whittling Exhibit of World's Greatest Whittler" Monona, Iowa. Real Photo Post Card, c. 1923. Collection Jim Linderman