American whistles, Metal Escargot shape whistles, whistles in the U.S.A (Part 1, At work)

American whistles, Metal Escargot shape whistles, whistles in the U.S.A

  Hello friends and collector and whistle enthusiasts
I will slowly bring some old articles that lost parts and pictures ( the original article had over 60 Photos )
and try and bring nw ones as well as time permits .
You are welcome to joine the Antique whistle group on Face book as well .

A.Strauss   Copyright 2009                                                 (Part 1, At work) * Since the article was written 2008 many new facts catalogs and whistles were found and some are still waiting to be discovered. Hopefully I will find time to update.
And find pictures that were lost.


American escargot whistles are a wide new subject
the internet is very much alive and flexible and
I work , study  write and add pictures and notes at my own pace.
If you are a frequent visitor you may have noticed that I add,
change and improve old entries when ever I have time,
or  when gaining new pictures or insights.

As much as I had tried to study the subject, there is still a lot more which I do not know,
since there is very little documentation of these.

Unlike  british made escargots which can be identified with time and maker,
one finds that there is no information  when it comes to American whistles and makers.

Since the subject is one of wide scope, implies hundreds of different samples and there are no prior  studies  to rely upon,
I will arrange and add information slowly as time permits.
Meanwhile I hope the visitors  of this pages will enjoy the pictures.

I have used some found in the whistle museum picture archive
found on different web sites or sent to me by other collectors.
Of cource any additional information or questions are welcome.

* I will concentrate on “Bubble top” escargots , or spherical knop as some collectors call it,
[ An entry was devoted not long ago to Winchester whistles and other American made bubble top escargots with the unique construction with interlocking  sides & teeth or   “flaps’  ] ,
Deal with some other interesting variations,  may be at another entry deal with others,.

In general U.S.A made whistles from 1900 to 1950 are mostly of the Glasgow type escargots either with Bubble top , or with Hump back cap, or Flat loop  and have a simmilar size and construction.

A List of over 50 Body stamps found on U.S.A made Bubble top escargot whistles,
or whistles used in the U.S.A would be added .
There are many more stamps on other escargot types. Sporting Goods companies, Rail Road whistles, Military – Army whistles,  Police, Arms companies and more.

German made whistles that were intended mostly for the U.S.A. market at the period of 1900 to 1930’s and are to be found only in the U.S.A  deserve a special entry.

Other commonly used whistles were made by J.Hudson, “The acme Thunderer ” and other types, many of which were ordered by American companies and many carrying their logos. These would be treated in another entry since they differ from the common Hudson whistles only in Body stamps.
Some of the American Makers of these are ; B.G.I, Horstmann, B & R , Gotham metal works, Colsoff, Wilson, North Brothers and others, many makers  are  unidentified as of now.

Inspection of small details, can be very rewarding when trying to know more about these whistles , The cap, The Tooth grips, the window, the pea, the general construction, the tongue type,  no tongue, the shape of the beak- mouthpiece, the size , color & patina,
Each one of these is important when studying whistles.

Unstamped American whistle

A_Strauss_on_American_whistles,_Antique_whistles,ESC_USA_Brass_Ball_Bubble_whistle museum_

Untitled 1

This Flat head bubble top on a distinct waste shaped stem on an escargot whistle was advertised during WWI By ARMY & NAVY STORE INC. N.Y. as ” THUNDERER ( PLATOON)”  model. It was manufactured in France by a Paris Based company.

“IVOR JOHNSON , POLICE, SPORTING GOODS CO. “Ivor_Johnson_sporting goods co Police_whistle_museum

The right one is a rare bubble top with no stem escargot, stamped Frankfort U.S.A.  it has a unique cut window design.
on the left a police Special , Both made early 1910’s -20s The same rare top apears on a small tappered beak london type by Frankfort U.S.A.
Rare_whistles,_whistle_museum,_American_whistle,bubble_top_frankfort_usa.- whistle_ museumjpg

Winchester whistles.

An entry was devoted not long ago to Winchester whistles and other American made bubble top
escargots with the unique construction using interlocking teeth or  “flaps” .

Above a Those  E.Wilson one and a Goldsmith’s pre numbered model.

Gotham Metal works. Brooklin , N.Y. U.S.A , the Famous boy scout escargot with a “tear drop” in logo late 1920’s. Gotham made other whistles as well.
Gotham Metal Works, 46 Walworth St. Brooklyn , N.Y Price at 1930’s was 35 Cent.
Gotham was the Major manufacturer of whistles for many sporting goods companies.

“The Chief , Signal police, made in U.S.A”  VHTF . one of the finest american made escargot whistles.
with a fancy stamp. whistle_museum,_Rare_American_whistle,The_Chief_Escar__Signal_one_of_the_finest_US_made

RK, K reveresed logo and bird, RK were also making punches for makers of a variety of items.  S.D.& G N.Y were suppliers .
There is also a variation without their initials.
A_Strauss_Collec_American_whistle,Esc___S_D_&_G_ whistle museum

Alpha Traffic C.D.R.-N.Y” C.D.REESE 57 WARREN ST. NEW YORK was one of the largest Police and Fire equipment supplier early 20th Cent. this whistle is 1910’s. Here is an excerpt from a catalog.


1923 C.D Reese Catalog page showing the “Alpha Traffic” and
The Acme thunderer made by J.Hudson & Co. of England , Tittled as “Thunderer” Traffic.
whistle_Museum,_1923_S_W_REESE___CO_CATALOG,_POLICE_Whistles A.Strauss Article


whistle_museum,_Ex_Rare_antique_whistle_A_STrauss,_Esc____N_S_Traffic_Police_ whistle_S_A_French_N_Y_.whistle _ museumjpg

“TRAFFIC”, S.A. French, This is one of the rarest American whistles, in fact one known, it is especially well made, outstanding,
Ring Loops  are usually seen on GSW’s and considered as a sign of cheaper quality ,
and are so many times but this one is an exception.
A London type escargot with a rod strenghening under beak + Four parts and top loop, the sides  are thick, it is silver plated brass not nickel silver,  has two fine upper and lower tooth grips and stamped under the beak, S. A. FRENCH N.Y .
S. A. French was a famous dealer for police supplies and his 1886 catalogue show many items and one BGI whistle, I would assume the one here was made in the 1880’s to 1905 and may had been made in europe but as of yet I had never seen a simmilar one . ( a few years after the article was published another one or two popped up )

“B & O R.R ” – BALTIMORE & OHIO Rail Road

A Rare sample of a Large size London style escargot stamped “Police Whistle U.S.A.”
The cheap quality of the stamp reminds the early B & R stamps on GSW’s.

B & R

Note the arched lower window side.B & R Cyclone P.R.R  Railway whistle Pensilvania Rail way.

B& R were the largest U.S.A company making whistles since late 19th century , we know little
about the company ,
Many Models of B & R whistles are to be found with Various stamps , they made whistles up to late 1930’s or 40’s.
A Company named B & R M’F’G’ Co. excsisted in New York City making Tin Banks since the 1860’s.
But no other information was yet found.
1869 Dated B & R Dime Bank.

” Regulation Gemsco”
whistle__A_Strauss,_American_whistles,_Esc__Us_Traffic whistle museum

B & R JERRY No .2550
whistle_museum_B___R_Jerry_No__2550_RARE Whistle

An early version of the Pensilvania Rail Road Co. Stamp on an escargot.

B & R famous model “Cyclone Police” , a sturdy whistle.

A Later B & R model stamped “Made in The U.S.A” , “Hump back top”
Cap top made similar to Hudson’s British Patent of 1924, using a groove in the cap to wire it to the body before  soldering cap in place,
a classical method still used by Hudson today patent of 1924 .
The arched stamp “Made in U.S.A” was used on B & R. ‘s whistles.
Below a B & R with flat loop. NOTE THE FLAT LOOP CAP TOP
very practical and cheaper to produce. probably made since the early 1930’s after the Depression, no patent found yet.
many earlier American bubble top escargots showed up with a Hump back cap and later with a flat loop . The Flat loop was made by Gotham Metal work and by B & R.Escargot_whistle_museum,_USA_Townsend_sporting_Goods_Co__Omaha

“Regulation U.S Army Solid Brass” with a distinct  typical American flat loop.
“OFFICIAL POLICE” with  star logo and head lights ?

German escargots in the USA. “Traffic Police Signal” another article should deal with German and Japanese whistles made for the U.S.A Market.Cast metal with embossed stamp “SIGNAL POLICE” , Rare.

Two” TRYON, TRADE MARK” Whistles a Glasgow Type and a Smaller Tappered beak London Type.
Edward Tryon & Co. were a well established arms , Guns makers Their catalog of 1883 already shows whistles.

North Brothers Escargot. whistle, very rare.
North Bros. Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, Stamped London type escargot whistle, Rare, one seen.


North Brothers Manufacturing Company begun its existence as a small business established by Selden G. North, a machinist, in 1878. 
Ralph H.North joined 1880 and they run under the name North brothers.
A third brother, Frank H. North, joined the firm in 1886. 
They operated as Brass foundry and a tinning and galvanizing buisness.
Located at at 23rd and Race Streets in Philadelphia, 
1892 moved to larger quarters at Lehigh and American Streets .
In 1887 the company was incorporated with a name of North Brothers Manufacturing Company.


Horstmann, Philadelphia , Founded1816 – The history of the largest American Military equipment dealer of the 19th century – William H. Horstmann & Co. of Philadelphia.
Major maker and supplier of military equipment. Possibly pre 1893 ? Certainly Pre WWI.
Horstmann & Sons or Horstmann Borthers or W.H. Horstmann & sons. From 1893-1954 W.H. Horstmann Company. Horstmann also made GSW’s and swords with cast brass pea whistles

MacGregor, Goldsmith # 6 Tappered beak London style bubble top escargot. A nicely stamped whistle,
simmilar to the Goldsmith # 6.

More whistles with original Box.

There are 8 Variations of the American Glasgow style escargots made for Boy & Girl scouts.

Model # 1281


V.L. & A special Chicago

Townsend sporting Goods Co. OMAHA.

Military whistles

United States Navy, WWII.

” Military” , The Pea can reveal a lot to the experienced eye. this one has a very old large cork pea.

WWII Oval side stamp , this particular one was hand engraved by a soldier. Usually has one plain side.

Colsoff  Manuf. Co.Huntley Rd Columbus Ohio 43229. Model No 300 1960’s.

This old style heavy  guilded brass escargot whistle with a lion embossed and an extra ring in his mouth was made by an american artist named Pauline Rader .in the 1960’s .

To be cont.
Whistle museum, A Strauss Copyright © 2009

Posted by WHISTLE MUSEUM at 5/13/2009 3:16 PM
Categories: By Shape and type
Tags: A Strauss American whistle American escargots Escargot whistles American whistles whistle museum

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A web site dedicated to whistles, research and collecting whistles. by Avner Strauss.

The well known foremost website Whistlemuseum is now in the progress of rebuilding.

See you soon! Please feel free to contact for advice on whistles. We will not be able to answer all questions only questions with a photo attached can be answered.

Thanks for visiting and sharing

Avner Strauss

Boatswain’s call History, Timeline, Examples and More.

Boatswain’s call History, Timeline, Examples and More. * A. Strauss
Bosun whistle**, Bosun Pipe Call, England, Time line, Makers, Construction and How To Play, Mp3. (30 Photos) By Avner Strauss

AncientlatinamericanclaywhistlewhistlemuseumarchiveAncient Latin American Clay whistle which clearly resembles the early bosun whistles.
* originally published in the whistle museum old website, The web site had
about 500 articles and 1000’s of photos I hope to reload many of these in the future.
**  In the 19th century and earlier the common word used for whistle was CALL
this changed in the 20th Cent. but the Boatswain’s pipe , Bosun pipe call
kept its name as CALL , it seemed to me right to simplify it into BOSUN WHISTLE .

* Late Medievel and Post Medievel examples. 14th to 18th cent.
* General history and Myth

* Parts and Construction
* How To Blow the Bosun whistle command calls, its
Musical use, and Mp3 samples.

* 19th Century Examples by Decades 1870 to 1910’s
and Makers.

* 20th Century- Professional Makers, Souveneir types
and ones used in actual service and as presentation

* Reference to previous articles here

Medieval and post medieval times examples

14th Century

40 mm Brass c 14th century.

15th century


Heavy brass 81 grams length 39 mm.

Cast metal, second half of 16 century

Note Ornamental keel mixed wire and cast parts.I believe this one is in the British Museum . cast plated metal.

From the Portrait of a Man with a Lute at the Maritime museum Greenwich by
Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497 – between 7 October and 29 November 1543) was a German artist and print maker who worked in a Northern Renaissance style. He is best known as one of the greatest portraitists of the 16th century’
we can see an earlier 16th Century Bosun whistle which is in already in the developed shape still used today. I thank Mr. Bron Larner for his comment .
PortraitofamanwithaBusonPipewhistlemuseumarchiveIn addition you may see a painting by Lucas Cranach the elder with a different style bosun whistle of the same era LOOK

17th Century
Boatswin’s pipe, Buson’s pipe whistle, gold early part of 17th century c 1610’s found near the spanish boat Margarita that sank at 1622, see the Attocha ship whistle here.

A Keel of heavy wire. and ring around pipe, Silver. not sure about the date but similar to 15th century  designs.

18th Century



1776 A George III Maker mark ‘M.F’, London.

1784 Hester Bateman London Hall Mark


Scroll down to See 19th Century time line by decades



General History and Myth

The boatswain’s call is a none diaphragm aerophone and has it’s history tied to naval and marine usages.
It has a long history both as a symbol of office and as a practical instrument for conveying orders at sea and playing music to pass time at sea.
It became a standard in navy and military boats all over the world and on each boat there was a sailor an Officer who had to know the various call codes and in charge of using the whistle to convey commands and blow it on certain parts of the day to mark daily choirs and for ceremonies. See next chapter.220px-AssyrianWarship
Assyrian warship, a bireme with pointed bow. 700 BC

Its distinctive shape has remained practically unchanged from medieval times to the present day. The call’s shrill whistle can be varied in pitch and duration to convey a variety of information, and can be heard above the sound of wind and sea. Such instruments were private possessions rather than official equipment and silver calls like this one made suitable gifts and presentation pieces.

The boatswain’s call has a long history and goes to ancient times, myth has it that roman boats had a man who gave rhythm with a whistle to the rowers in Galeys war boats that had as many as 12 and more rowers on each side and had to row in rhythm .
During the years many names were used and Buson pipe, call or whistle became the most used.

Parts Construction and How to Play


Traditionally the Bosun’s pipe has 5 parts named
The Gun
The Buoy
The Keel
The Hole
The Shackle

Being a none diaphragm type whistle the Gun – pipe and the Ball with the hole – Buoy are the main parts and enough to produce a great whistle.
The Keel that is made for understrengthening of the Gun- pipe functions as an ornamental
part as well, ( Same idea as in Escargot type whistles London type Old Button type construction and Glasgow type.) Some bosun calls do not use a keel .

Three sets of rings around the pipe which vary in number and shapes (a wide loop at times) became a part of the traditional English Buson around mid 18th century.

How To Blow The Whistle, command calls, Playing Music and Mp3 Samples

The Buson Pipe is a whistle that uses the hand and fingers to manipulate the sound, it is capable of playing all the notes within an Octave range (12 notes) and needs practicing.
As in flutes silver gives a better whistle sound .
It needs practicing to be able to control al the notes and be able to play melodies, old sailors had much time to kill on boats and sea vessels and music was a great way to pass the time when meditating over monotonous marine landscapes, on voyages that lasted monts at a time.

I did actually meet an old bearded Irish sailor who was a virtuoso in playing these.
There is a Huge difference in the sound quality of these pipes from ones that hardly make a sound to others that sound like magic flutes.

The code used to convey orders on sea vessels usese a general High – Low Pitch and Long – Short duration notes. It does not use all its musical possibilities.

The Palm and fingers are used as an extra sound Chamber, the larger and more open it is the lower the pitch, By lowering each finger the musical note pitch varies, Thus one has to actually try slow and learn by practicing, I suggest starting with simple melodies and sea shantys, an instructional Video and samples of simple tunes is something I hope to make in the future.

Direction and More about playing here

Open position
Closed Position
Special effects

  • Warble: The warble is produced by repeatedly moving your hand quickly from the high to the low position, which results in a warble similar to that of a canary.
  • Trill: The trill is produced by vibrating the tongue while blowing, as in rolling the letter R.
    From Sea ScoutsAs we’re Sea Scouts, we use the Bosun’s Call or Boatswain’s Call for ceremonies. It’s mainly used at Flag Break and Piping Aboard VIPs.In order to produce a low note The Bosun’s Call is held by the index finger and thumb in the right hand with the Buoy resting in the palm of the hand while youre remaining three fingers raised above the gun has shown:In order to produce a high note The Bosun’s Call is held the same way however the remaining three fingers are lowered over the gun and hole.”
    Mp3 Samples of Various Boatswain’s call Mp3 Free Down Loads, or listening .
    (open your speakers) The numbers at the top of each figure represents ideal seconds of time.Eight Sideboys call whistleWakeup Call WhistleHeave Around Call WhistleBelay Call WhistlePipe the Side Call Whistle see describtionPass The Word Call WhistleSweepers call whistleAll Hands Call Whistle (The still )

    The Still

    stillThe still is used to call all hands to attention as a mark of respect, or to order silence on any occasion. The still is also used to announce the arrival onboard of a senior Officer. The pipe is an order in itself and does not require any verbal addition. The still is a high note held for 8 seconds. If done properly, it should end very abruptly.

    Pipe The Side Call
    When a Commanding Officer of an HMC ship arrivesd onboard he/she is entitled to this pipe. To be done properly it should be 12 seconds long with very smooth transitions. To accomplish this, the sailor must take a very long deep breath prior to beginning; failure to do so will cause the pipe to be abruptly cut short. The side is also piped for Royalty, teh Accused when entering a Court Martial and for the Officer of the Guard (When the Guard is formed up).

    The Still, the still is used to order all persons to attention as a sign of respect or to order silence. this could be for a speach from an important person, to mark the start of a ceromony or to stop work in order to prevent an accident.
    The still is played by a continuous 8 blow of a high note as shown:
    The Carry On, the carry on is almost always played after the reason for the still has been completed. this signals to all persons that they can return to what they were doing before the still was played.
    The carry on consists of a 1 second high note followed by a 1 second low note.”

    carryonThe carry on is used to negate the still. The pipe is an order in itself and does not require any verbal addition.

    General Call

    generalcallThe general call precedes any broadcast order; it draws attention to the order. The general call is used when passing out-of-routine orders or information of general interest.

    Officer of the Day Call

    daycallThe Officer of the Day call is used to attract the attention of the Officer of the Day to contact the gangway. The pipe is an order in itself and does not require verbal addition. The pipe sonsist of 4 high “pips”.

    Hands to Dinner

    dinnerThe dinner pipe is made at 1200 when the Ship’s Company secures and commences the mid-day meal, referred to as dinner. It is never made for any other meal-time. The pipe is an order in itself and does not require any verbal addition. This pipe is very long and any is the pride of any sailor that can do it absolutely properly, and the disgrace of any sailor that does not.

    Pipe Down


    pipedownThe pipe down is made at 22:30 or at any other time specified by the routine daily orders, when the Ship’s Company retire for the evening and the silent hours period commences. The pipe is an order in itself and does not require any verbal addition. When this pipe is made during the middle of the day, it means that the ship is adopting a “Sunday Routine for the remainder of the day.


    19th Century Dated Whistles by Decades and Makers

    English Makers makers silversmiths mentioned here

    Carles Rawlings London
    George Unite Birm
    Mary Chawner London
    Joseph Willmore including Makers History
    Hilliard & Thomason Birm
    E. E Emmanuel Birm
    Yapp $ Woodward Birmingham
    SRCB Roberts & Belk (Samuel Robert & Charles Belk ) Sheffield
    Hester Bateman London


    1804 Arthur Taylor



    Sterling Silver Boatswain, Buson whistle by charles rawlings 1812 London


    1819 Mary Chawner London

    1819 Joseph Willmore Birmingham Fully Hallmarked sterling silver.
    Here is a Brief History of him.
    Joseph Willmore – was a grandson of Thomas Willmore who was one of silversmiths active since the establishment of Birmigham Assay Office in 1773. Thomas Willmore entered his mark at Birmingham Assay Office in partnership with James Alston between 1773 and 1801, though later marks show that both were independent silversmiths. Willmore was a bucklemaker and Alston operated as a button maker.
    Joseph Willmore took over the business on Thomas’s death in 1816. Joseph had already registered his mark at Birmingham Assay Office in 1806-7 as a snuff-box maker. He also registered at London Assay Office in 1814-5 where he had a showroom in Bouverie Street and later Thavies Inn in Holborn. This fact suggests that he has distinctive sence of business. He clearly understood the importance of marketing his products to his wealthy customers living in London. Usually a silversmith delegates the marketing operation to the retailer who has close relationship with the wealty customers. However he inteds to control the marketing of his products by himself.
    He registered a new hallmark at Birmingham Assay Office as a make of handles of knife and fork in 1831-2, and as a make of silver-gilt knife, fork and spoon in 1832-3.
    Joseph entered into a partnership with two other Birmingham silversmiths, John Yapp and John Woodward. He died in 1855 and his buisness discontinued.




    1837 Joseph Wilmore Birmingham


    Birmingham1829BoatswainscallbyJosephWillmorewhistlemuseumarc 1847FullyHallmarkedYappWoodwardbussonwhistlemuseN

    1847 Yapp & Woodward Birmingham



    1856 Hilliard & Thomasson Birm.


    1867 SRCB Roberts & Belk (Samuel Robert & Charles Belk ) Sheffield


    1877 H & T, Hilliard & Thomason. Bosun’s whistle, call by H & T Hilliard & Thomason. Birmingham, 1877 , fully hallmarked on other side.
    H & T were well known silversmiths in Birmingham, making other types of whistles as well .

    BusonbyJHGauntSonsBirmwhistlecatalogexerptwhistlemuseumalibJ H Gaunt & Sons Birmingham, earliest buson in catalog
    model B 414

    BosunEEEmmanuel1896whistlemuseumarchive11896 E E Emmanuel Pat Number 7673

    Under construction to be cont.
    H&T Hilliard & Thomason
    Spencer Street, Birmingham Birmingham 1904 hallmark

    A. De Courcy Patent of 10035 , 1909 Buson whistle design. nickel Plated Brass.

    The New Era Hand made Line production
    J. Hudson De Courcy, Professional Navy calls , Army militiray marine service
    Full Line production with replicas and designs made for souveniers


    1907 George Unite, Birmingham , Bosun’s whistle.

    Previous articles here and external links

    There are 5 previous articles regarding Bosun’s pipe , whistles here ( currently unavailable I will reload in the future  A.S )

    Reccomended web-site about collecting silver spoons.

    Boatswain’s call, Boatswain’s Pipe, Bosun’s whistle, 1877 H & T Silver Bosun’s call and some nice articles & web sites.A boatswain bo’s’n, bos’n, or bosun is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship….see Wikipedia’s_mate_(United_States_Navy)

    and Boatswain’s Pipe’s_call
    And a newer posts as addition–astrauss.aspx

  • ————————————————————————————————-

    * “The Botswain’s Call handbook”. The Marine Society & Sea Cadets.
    * Listen;
    MP3s of the Boatswain’s call from Hellenic Navy (Greek)
    * U.S.A Navy ;
    How to use Boatswain pipe .pdf file
    * Wikipedia’s_whistle

    The Bosun’s Call is a metallic pipe attached to a white Lanyard and worn as part of the uniform in our Scout Troop normally by Assistant Patrol Leaders and Patrol Leaders that are proficient in piping.”
    Boatswain’s call History, Timeline, Examples and More.Whistle museum, A.Strauss 2012
    All rights reserved, /2009/03/22 Please do not use any part of this web page without a written permission from the author
    ההיסטוריה של משרוקיות מלחים. אבנר שטראוס