A whistle at a time, Spotlight on a special Antique whistle.

By Silversmith Karl Gustaf Hjalmar Armfeldt

Antique Escargot shape whistle with an embossed elephant, (May had been made to an Indian Raja ?) inlaid with gems Faberge

D shape whistle window, By Faberge Finnish work master of Karl Gustaf Hjalmar Armfeldt.
Petersburg, 1908 to1917.

Whistle Length app. 68 mm Weight 31,6 Russian whistle

The whistle was auctioned with a start price of £2500, whistle museum archive .
(Not a part of our collection)

Composition paint whistles for Ships. Marine, Naval, Nautical. A. Strauss

Three Composition Paint Antique Whistles, Left to right ; Round Pea Whistle by Alfred DeCourcy, Suter Hartman ‘Red Hand’ Escargot of outstanding design & embossed stamps By A. DeCourcy and a ‘Use Holzapfel’s by J. Hudson & Co. All very rare.
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Three German made Composition Paint Escargot shape whistles.
Under construction

Marine, Naval, Nautical, Navy whistles, Professional whistles
is a huge subject in itself, small none Bosun – Boatswain’s call,
Speaking tube whistles and large steam whistle and more.
Here are some Compostion paint whistles.

Short Forward
A short forward is called for in regards with some terms connected to this
very specific subject of Naval Interest. mostly ESCARGOT type whistles.
German, British , France, USA.
It is an original relatively small theme – sub-category which I would like to put a spotlight on, hopefully I would find out others.

Composition Paint was in used in the later 19th Century to
earlier part of 20th century. The term changed to Anti-Fouling Paints.
wikipedia Anti-fouling paint
Iron Ships Ironclad Warship Maritime Museum

The Companies of Compostion paint were thriving towards the late 19th century, The whistles they ordered and used were all Escargot – Snail shaped -referee – type whistles, ordered with their LOGO Company’s name and / or paint trade mark name. These were used as advertisement and by workers.
(One found exeption is a De Courcy made Round Pea Whistle For a British Paint.
Most were ORDERED by German Companies some naturally from German Makers , Some German companies ordered some whistles from British whistles makers.
There are just about 12 whistles known to me as of now.
Hopefully others will surface. Whistles made in Germany, England, U.S.A
A example for a French company was ordered from Acme whistles Ltd.
after mid 1920s.

I shall take a look at 6 German ones :

1) Stern Composition logo. The F.A.C Van Der Linder & Co. HAMBURG, Stern composition Paint by Heinrich Zimmerman Leipzig, 1890s early 1900 is of speciaal importance, since it is one of the first to be seen with this Interlocking Teeth
2) Holzapfel Composition paint Propeler Logo
3) Von Hoverling Compostion Paint (Est. 1879)

A closer look at Number one Stern, – Star Logo, Made By Heinrich Zimmerman
C. 1900 Reveals it has 4 Interlocking teeth, Known as Dove-tail or Nut feather in wood working.
3 Teeth to side and one to the beak on each side,
This is important since it appeared over a decade before this type of construction was used by Gotham Metal work, an American Company.
And was unattributed until i discovered this few years back.

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Three more German made Escargot type whistles for Composition paint:
4) Th.  Höeg Patent, Hamburg
5) Hansa Farben Fabrik with X shape trade mark to side (Based in Kiel)
6) Rhatjen’s Shiffs boden with Red Hand Logo Trade Mark – Shutz marke
(See whistle’s photos on original advertisemnt)

Number 4 Front Stamp

Continue reading Composition paint whistles for Ships. Marine, Naval, Nautical. A. Strauss

Antique Single Note Conical Whistles S.N.C.W 18th to Early 20th Century Time line. A. Strauss

Under construction spotlight on antique Single Note Conical whistles

19th Century Single Note Conical Whistle with a Pea, Brass top & Wooden whistle.

whistle gallery photos of antique whistles
L; 61.33 mm
Single Note Conical Whistle is a Term I made up many years back to describe the shape & sound of these whistles, I use the abbreviation S.N.C or S.N.C.W
These were previously referred to as Beaufort whistles but they are certainly not, The term Beaufort was given much later to cased whistles ordered at Joseph Hudson & Co. by Lord Beaufort C. 1880s, who favored Cased TWO NOTES CONICAL WHISTLES. (TNC)
The SNC whistle has long history and upon this mix material one arriving lately I arbitrarily chose some examples from archive under this shape.
One of the distinct features of the Single Note Conical Whistles is that
they use a BEAK TYPE Mouthpiece (Mostly) which Beaufort whistles lack.
It is important since many collectors refer to Cased Single Note Conical whistles
as “Cased Beaufort”.
I arranged some in a general time line.
Continue reading Antique Single Note Conical Whistles S.N.C.W 18th to Early 20th Century Time line. A. Strauss

Antique Cycling Whistles – Sifflets Revisted.


Le Velo – Signal K.B Paris brevete S.G.D.G

Henri Kratz-Boussac ( K.B) created the company “Les inventions nouvelles” in 1883. In his catalogue in 1900 are many optical toys (sciopticons, kaleidoscopes etc).
He build a factory for toys in Douville-sur-Andelle in Normandy in 1905. He was also famous for his gun-toys and children cars. As you can see, except for a very few specialised makers, the whistles in France were mostly produced by toys makers or music instruments makers.

Continue reading Antique Cycling Whistles – Sifflets Revisted.

The other Edward D. Bean Police whistle The ‘UNIQUE’ Call.

American Whistles.

Model number 426 Yje ‘UNIQUE’ call, Designed by E.D Bean, Two Chambers & stop hole, in a design which does not really fall into any standard common category because of few unusual parts. C 1900

When I discovered the 1rst Bean Police whistle it was great new,
Called by fellow collectors, The ‘Holy Grail’ of American whistle,
It was the first two note Tube type whistle, found, to predate Hudson & Co. of England, and Before I discovered the first two notes tube whistles by Stevens & Sons Model No. 27 from the 1860s .
The original patent was ‘Billy’s Club’ which made it hard to find.
It did not have the tittle call (The term used in the 19th century for professional whistles.
It did ignite the search for more & more variations which showed, still a rare whistle just about a dozen or two in collections,
I found it in Patent search and then in a Pettibone Brothers Chicago Catalog of 1901 along few other earlier catalogs, still the Pettibone Brothers showed a Model number 26 which I was not being able to find .
When a Friend asked me what it is, lately & enclosed the photos, I was glad to see Model Number 426 and that I have the answer.
Took many years to have a clear view of one, It is the 2nd I had seen,
the 2nd top right show the stamp Patent applied for.
It is certainly an unusual design and has two sound chambers.

John P. Lovell Arms Co. 147 Washington St. Boston, Mass. 1893 adv. Postcard

Pettibone Brothers Catalog page

Model 424 & 426 in the 1901 Pettibone Bros. Catalog 1901.

There were previous other earlier catalogs with model 424 (J.P. Moore and John Lovell But none with 426

Model 424 was the first one found and identified c 2006-7
Continue reading The other Edward D. Bean Police whistle The ‘UNIQUE’ Call.

Fire Brigade Whistles In British Catalogues. (19th Century)

A. Strauss

Merryweather & Sons Catalogue Model P – Handsomely Chased Gold Plated, Presentaion whistle. (See Model P Drawing & Price List c. 1880 Length 110 mm, Top 33 mm wide, Weigh 240 g !
This one is attributed to Joseph Hudson & Co. and has intricate 3 letter Initials on back. (To be uploaded)

Merryweather & Sons established 1692 and Shand Mason & Co. were two of the larger retailers of Fire Brigade accoutrements, whistles were just one of the products they retailed, they manufactured others, but our interest is in whistles.
I will bring some of their whistle pages from19th century catalogues.,
and share two very rare whistles identified by using the catalogs.
When I started writing I found many more Fire Brigade whistles
from these catalogues and I share some of mine and some from archive.

Continue reading Fire Brigade Whistles In British Catalogues. (19th Century)

Button Top Conical whistle Type by Dowler & Sons, Hiatt & Co. Ltd. Registered Design Number 225730 of January 19th, 1894 & Similar types by J. Hudson. A. Strauss

Staffordshire Constabulary Button Top Conical whistle type (TNC-Nick Named Beaufort)

(Under construction)
It is important to categorize and define accurate names for whistle types,
Mostly for more common ones, but when it comes to very rare ones it may be of less importance. (The type were previously referred to as Crest top).
The next few observations are about whistles that very few collectors own and lucky are the ones that have one, let alone few. Still they are gems to look at and study.

This newly found one which is very different from all others I had seen
turned my attention to these again*,
The whistle has few unusual features seen only with this one,
It has a great sound with about a whole step apart between the two notes,
Pitch is A & a slightly Flatt B) It measures 60.82 mm in length, the windows are larger then usual, so is the body, and the top bubble has a groove (AKA Crimp ring)
and it is a heavy cast one, As far as I can tell it was made by Dowler
(albeit that top may hint at a work by A. DeCourcy) .

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Richard Evans Policemen who served at the Devon Constabulary, which came with photos and documents, I shall bering again in a separate post in his honor.
Hiatt & Co Registered Design Number 225730 of January 19 1894,
(From The National Archives, Kew)
Hiatt and Co., Ltd.  26 and 27 Masshouse Lane, Birmingham

The Nick Harris Story & Whistle.

  • Tracking the history of whistles or a particular whistle is really like being a detective
    mentioning it to a friend, upon his request I pulled out what I had in my archive regarding this whistle. (A. Strauss)

Photo was taken from this website The Nick Harris School

Nick Harris Whistle beside the original box.
In 1906, Nicholas B. Harris, ( 1882-1943) an investigative reporter turned police detective founded Nick Harris Detectives. A year later the Nick Harris Academy opened bearing his name. Credited for solving many of the most baffling criminal cases at the turn-of-the-century, Mr. Harris, a legend in his own time was known for many peculiarities . “Official Police Whistle” marked Nick Harris on one side and official police whistle on the other. This would have been related to the Nick Harris radio show back in 1930-1940s, based on a real life character who was first a reporter, then a police officer, then a private investigator. In fact he founded a detective school in 1906 that is still operating .
Continue reading The Nick Harris Story & Whistle.

Masonic – Free Mason’s ceremonial whistle

A whistle a day
Large Extra HEAVY solid silver whistle , continental silver hallmark.

Length: 93 mm with masonic symbol. Probably German or French.
Octagonal tapered design, upper side is solid.
Probasbly of French oor Ge3rman origin, c 1880s t0 1910s .
It is all smooth, was clean when I got but it was blackened during the time I have it.

I tthe links you may see the History of Freemasonry in France

_Back view with silver hall mark stamp.

In the links you may see the History of Freemasonry in GERMANY

Antique whistle review

Deutsche Signal Instrumenten Fabrik

German Signal Instruments Manufacturer. A. Strauss

Trillerpfeifen, Early Escargot- Referee- Snail whistle with Long beak, & Tear drop shaped sound chamber, Late 19th Century, Early 20th Century.


When it comes to whistles, two major players, The British and the German whistle manufacturers went through important changes during the 19th century Industrial revolution, with new designs and means of manufacturing, I can Clearly see the reciprocal inspiration and parallel developments.
The Pfretzschner’s family (Musical Instruments makers) history goes back hundreds of years and the Brass instruments making started in 1750 in Markneuekirchen and area, The Firm itself was established in 1834 .
I visited there twice for research during the two last two decades,
It is enough to mention that in the 1870s about 70% of the world’s musical Instruments from China to America were produced there, to start and imagine the wealth of material, which is endless and an mine of info which can be studied there, when it comes to manufacturing Instruments including whistles of all types.

The Markneuekirchen Musical Instrument Museum Founded in the 19th Century is Highly recommended.

The large Church bell in the church Bell tower on the upper main Street
was scraped to make cannons in 1905.

Here I chose to concentrate on two types of important German whistles which actually follow the development early Glasgow & Birmingham 6 Piece escargot whistles into 3 Piece in Birmingham.
Dew to luck of examples and rarity of German whistles, It would be difficult to date.
The next 6 Piece German escargot is the single example I know of see three angles and note the ridge under the escargot’s ‘BEAK’ -which is what I call the mouthpiece.
The side shows the ‘tear drop’ sound chamber design with a patriotic 19 century coins chain.

Ridge under beak for under strengthening.

The next model to be developed was basically a 3 piece body + additional two components a two piece top (Plate & Ring Loop -) + a tooth grip made of heavy wire.
The Sound Chamber was similar a ‘tear drop’ shaped but it had a LONG ‘BEAK’ mouth piece.

The 4 Different variations left to right, are made differently.
Left is the latest with a single Ball top (Knop), and Nickel or Chrom plating,
The sound chamber is more rounded.
the 2nd seems to be iron, albeit it is a none magnetic hard metal,
The third is nickel plated brass with small loop ring.
The 4th is of the best quality German Silver ( AKA alpaca or Nickel Silver)
It is slightly larger and made with outmost care to details as well as having a larger
Sound Chamber & Beak. All are app. 80 mm long.

Continue reading Deutsche Signal Instrumenten Fabrik