Russian Folk Art Pottery Clay Whistles with Woman Figures. M. Oboeva (Марианна Обоева)
SHORT INTRO During the years I developed a growing interest in CLAY & POTTERY WHISTLES, first as an amateur collector of these and gradually studying and developong this niche of collecting & study. While doing so I had the pleasure of meeting some great & knowledgeable collectors. Pottery – Clay Whistles had been a subject I had not written about in my blog here, but it is time to start, Clay whistles of different countries Whistles, have typical features , and may be more so with traditional Folk Art. I have asked my honorable guest, Marianna Oboeva to send 10 photos and few words as intoduction to Russian Pottery Clay Whistles. She chose the subject of Women Figures (All whistles). So I leave the stage to a short guest article from Marianna Oboeva a collector, an Artist and expert on Russian whistles, that chase the theme of feminine figures within the subject of Russian Folk Art Clay whistles, In her own words, with Photos. A. Strauss
History and Timeline of ‘William Dowler & Sons’ Whistle, Button & Military Ornaments Manufacturers.
Intro This article (Part III a) focuses on the Birmingham Whistles, Military Ornaments and Button manufacturer William Dowler, later ‘William Dowler & Sons’. It is the continuation of the first article, and an on going research of 15 years, some of the first finds were posted here in 2008 and in the Wikipedia and in 2015- 2016 a revised article about the family which established their business in 1776. See Link, William & George Dowler which presented the family’s history and work.
George Dowler had the bigger manufacturing plant and manufactured whistles which were advertised but not identified to this day, continuing the family’s plants & manufacturing business up to 1870, it was ‘Willian Dowler’ who was the bigger Whistle manufacturer, He started working independently in 1853 and took over the family’s assets in 1876. In fact seeing the whole picture we can say that since 1853 William took an independent path and only in 1876 after legal fights gained control of the other various family plants and assets which George was running up to 1870. Thus between the years 1853 – 1870 There were two different manufacturers; one is Dowler – Birmingham, the other W. Dowler -Birmingham.
For convenience and coherency, I divided the whistles to 6 periods indicated by their different stamps addresses and whistle construction. (These should work well for Buttons stamps as well although whistles stamped Dowler Birmingham, were made by George Dowler and the ones by William Dowler stamped W. Dowler) The described timeline suggests a new understanding and observations of William Dowler’s whistles (and buttons) production, as well as serving as a general guide to dating these by 6 periods. [With that said it should be noted that previously Books & Scholars set the date of W. Dowler to have started producing Two Note Tube whistles (TNT) known to collectors as G.S.W – General Service whistles in 1886 which stands in contradiction to my research, and suggested Dowler did not make Round Pea Whistles]. The article identifies William Dowler as the first to produce whistles for the police forces ( *Foot Notes). We start with the main 6 Periods (# 2 Being the longest Period of about 30 years) of the company, and later discuss whistle types, Stamps, & components with more details and to be expanded later, and as time permits more photos. IN PART III b to follow.
William Dowler was born on 4 September 1813 and died on 1 December 1888. He was the son of Joseph and Hanna Dowler (born Hanna Ancell), & the older brother of George (B.1824), William married in 1850 and lives in Soho Hill. They had three sons Thomas, Arthur, and Austall, the first two were to working with their Dad and later since 1866 name changed to Dowler & Sons and they continued running the company after his death in 1888.
A GENRAL GUIDE TO DATING W. DOWLER WHISTLES BY 6 PERIODS*
A Chart of Stamps time line for quick identification.
A general preview of periods by Stamps, To be expanded with whistles and more details as to construction, types and other details, in part III b . See important footnote,***
First Period, 1853-1856
The address of the plant in this period is 42 Cherry St. During this period, William Dowler is in partnership with the Parker family (Marry Parker), a partnership which started in 1853 following the death of Charles Parker in 1852. The stamp in this period is ‘Parker & Dowler’. Up to 1852-3, William worked as a traveling agent, supposedly for the business of the Dowler family & for C. Parker when he was still alive. Note that during this period William Downer’s name is often misspelled in directories as W. Bowler or W. Downer. Between 1853/4-1856, the business continues to produce metal military accoutrements, using the production line left behind by Charles Parker. On 23 December, 1856 Mary leaves the business, officially disbanding the partnership and leaving William to continue production by himself at the same address, William will remain in this address until 1880.
Second Period, 1857-1885 In photo; 2nd Period Oval stamp up to 1885 -6 since unknown date post 1857
In 1857, under his name alone, William registers the business in the same address for the 1958 directory. He advertises himself as a railway whistle & button maker, and as a WD (War Department) certified manufacturer. During this period, stamps did not include an address, but were simply ‘W. Dowler Birm’, or ‘Birmingham. [That said, it is of course possible that a stamp indicating the address ‘42 Cherry St’ will surface in the future, just as a whistle stamped with J. Hudson’s first address, ‘St. Marks St.’, came to light only in 2020]. This period is divided to two sub periods by address, THE STAMP appears as a single stamp or along another stamp of a Police force. In 1880, William moved to 94 Great Charles Street and employs 27 employees. He is using a small oval stamp; W. Dowler Birm. between the years 1880 to 1885 but he had been using it before since a yet undermined date. The stamp remained as it was although the address had changed. One whistle may be the exception No stamps of W. Dowler Birm. with this address is known on whistles.
Third Period, 1885-6-1900 In Photo; 3rd period typical Dowler ellipse stamp DOWLER & SONS 94 Gt. Charles St. Birmingham. 1886 to 1900 The stamp may show along side body or across and with a force name on other side or below. At times it may show a variation with a retailer’s name following the same ellipse design.
The business becomes Dowler & Sons, and for the first time the exact address is included in the stamp (94 Great Charles Street, should be noted that this address was used by other members of the family at least since 1776) This will be in details in another The chapter to be posted in future, about the family and George Dowler). In 1 December 1888 Dowler dies, age 75, and his Will leaves the business with two of his sons, Thomas William Dowler & Arthur Patrick Dowler which were involved in the business before. It should be mentioned that at this time Alfred DeCourcy, a brilliant whistle maker and later an important whistle maker leaves his work at J. Hudson & Co. as foreman where he was employed from 1882, and some say he may had become a foreman at Dowler. ‘The Decourcy Touch’ is present (In my opinion) in some of Dowler’s stamped whistles, and eventually later he was filling orders for them in the Fifth period. During this period the business thrives, and produces some of their best whistles. In 1893, they register a silver hallmark, WD&S. There were two more silver hallmarks registered with the Birm. essay office but I was not able to yet. The other one was Wm.D& S was observed on a 1891 cased SNC whistle.
Fourth Period, 1900-1904 – Graham St. Works In photo; 4th period ellipse stamp 1900 – 1904 GRAHAM St. WORKS
In 1900, the business moves to 69-70 Graham Street, with the stamp (an elipse shape or oval one) now showing: ‘Dowler & Sons, Graham St. Works, Birmingham’. Some time in 1904, the business is registered as a limited reliability company and the stamp changes to ‘Dowler & Sons Ltd’, which is also how the business name appears in the 1905 directory., so the listing of Ltd. was entered sometime before November 1904. Around 1905 Dowler & sons reduced their own whistle production and outsource this to other Birmingham-based Companies, First with De Courcy which in that year started stamping his whistles with his Frankfort St. address, and then only in the 6th period with Hudson as well. It was at this period that Dowler started using his : COMBINATION OF TWO STAMPS A LARGE OVAL STAMP WITH A LINE IN THE MIDDLE (For Force name) + THE ELLIPSE SHAPED STAMP WITH THE COMPANEY’S NAME inopposing directions. All whistles of this period with TWO STAMP COMBINATION were made by Alfred De Courcy. THE COMBINATION OF TWO STAMPS HAS The ELLIPSE SHAPE DOWLER STAMP CLOSER TO THE TOP AND FACING IT and without Wm before Dowler !
Fifth Period 1905 up to c. 1910 * (To be verified may had been a year earlier)
This period whistles are stamped Dowler & SonsLtd. Most of the whistles are manufactured byA. De Courcy with some rarer ones made by Dowler & Sons with Ellipse stamp Ltd. probably in the earlier part of this period (See stamp).
Sixth Period C. 1910 * To WWII
At this period Dowler completely abandoned the whistle manufacturing part at their factory and ALL are made either by Hudson or De Courcy. The Stamp changes again approximately between 1911 to 1913 (But might be earlier and needs verification) The company stamp changes to Wm. Dowler & Sons Ltd ONLY on J. Hudson Whistles made for Dowler,
In this period J. Hudson & Co. Started manufacturing whistles for Dowler as well, ALL STAMPS OF WHISTLES MADE BY HUDSON for Dowler carry the POST 1911 -13 Stamp Wm. Dowler& Sons Ltd with Wm. before Dowler. Full stamp is: ‘Wm. Dowler & Sons Ltd. Graham St. Works Birmingham’. While De Courcy kept using the older stamp without Wm.
1911 was the earliest (So far) we found the new stamp, (Though a certain whistle is still in question),
J. Hudson & Co. started supplying Dowler with whistles stamped with combination of two stamps whistles made by Hudson shows the FORCE NAME OVAL STAMP CLOSER TO TOP and Dowler’s Ellipse stamp below closer to the windows and as said Wm before Dowler & Sons Ltd. THE STAMPS CAN BE USED TO IDENTIFY quickly which one made the whistle for Dowler and when by period. When adding to this a careful examination of the components of each whistle; TOP, CAP, LOOP, MOUTHPIECE, DIAPRAGM, PATENT DATE of each maker, we can date the whistles more accurately, at times by the exact year or two made.
Their name still appears on whistles made by J. Hudson & Co. up to the 1930s 40s. The business remains at the same address at least until after World War II, when they move 11 Brearley Street (11-15 Brearley) In 1969, they were bought and merged with Firmin & Sons, though they continue using their own address, stamps and name probably for tax purposes. In 1999 they still appear in the directory as located in Brearley Street. Today, they appear in the Internet as ‘W. Dowler & Sons Ltd’. In Photo; ‘Wm is added to the ELLIPSE stamp now ‘Wm Dowler & Sons Ltd. Graham St. Works Birmingham’.
Whistle TYPES made by Dowler & Sons
Whistle TYPES made by Dowler & Sons
Dowler Produced a large variety of whistles, here are the 5 main types, his main output was of Conical whistles and Two Note Tube (TNT – GSW) whistles. This is a more general preview to be continued in a more detailed review of each type as well as whistle parts, Retailers, Police Forces, and construction, – parts.
1) .CONICAL WHISTLES (or tapered Double notes as called at the time made mostly known to collectors as Beauforts) made by Dowler are of TWO MAIN TYPES: A & B T.N.C – Two notes conical whistles (Type A) & Single Notes (Type B)
TYPE A – TWO NOTES CONICAL – T.N.C
A being The Standard bubble top first manufactured by C. Parker.
a1 – Cast domed bubble top & cast M.P
a2 – Cast Domed bubble top top (Spherical Knop)
a3 – Smaller with tooth grip made for Worcester County Constabulary (W.C.C)
a4 – A Hybrid design with Cast Mouth Piece M.P and Crest Button top (Hiat Reg. Design No 225730 from 1894)
a5 – A smaller thin walls type late 3rd period made for Military with a unique stamp; W. Dowler & Sons Birmingham 1898 in straight lines.
TYPE B SINGLE NOTE CONICAL – S.N.C (See two examples in photo)
B) Short Single Note Conical whistle – SNC Two variations (THIS DESIGN Short first manufactured by C. Parker.) Type B – has a ‘BEAK’ TYPE M.P as in ROUND PEA WHISTLES & a Cast Fipple. (Some may refer to it as Round Tapered – Conical Whistle)
b1 Short CASED Single Note Conical Whistle with beak or without and a spring to its back. Traditionally used with British Army. (Includes Silver Hallmarked ones)
The whistles in photo are arranged more or less by their order of their first appearance in each type, Albeit in Type B preceded Type A in Time line. Type B appeared in the 18th century and with a cased version (Not Shown) late 18th century , type B 1 C. 1829 Note – There may well be a Type A with additional mouth piece, and type A with Ivory Mouthpiece (M.P) when available I will add.
a5 – A variation in Nickel plated brass, 1898 Military, unique stamp W. Dowler & Sons
2) TNT – Two note tube whistles (GSW – general service whistles by function) Including ones with Bulbous Porteous top, and many variations. of Mouthpieces and Tops, loops, and some with a single known example. William Dowler Produced his first TNT whistles in the 1860s, The first photo is of a J. Stevens & Son, Pre 1865 (See previous article about Stevens & Porteous whistles) TNT whistle on left & W. Dowler on right. Dowler made his earlier 1rst period model after Stevens & Porteous Models. Both of Dowler models of TNT one with Porteous Top (After Stevens Model # 27 ) and his two notes tube whistles were ‘Inspired’ or copied by Dowler.
Three small groups of William Dowler & Sons TNT Police whistles displaying few of the many dozens reviewed for an upcoming continuation, These include 4 periods in which Dowler & Sons made whistles on their own.
Left to right; H. A. Knox, Knoxall Police Call, made by W. Dowler, Early 1rst Period Dowler Porteous top TNT after J. Stevens and Son Model # 27, Early Dublin Police Bubble top TNT and crimp ring to Bubble and M.P
Other stamps & models are The International, Knoxall police Call, and some dated Military whistles, as well as retailers stamps.
3) Round Pea Whistles (Railway)
Two early 2nd period W. Dowler whistles for N.E.R, Left long neck acorn top type, center cast dome bubble top and on right a later one 3rd period by Dowler & Sons with Loop top and tooth grip.
4)Button Whistles, escargot type with Button Sides.
Left to right; Top left Bradford City Whistle, Bottom left a GPO General Post Office whistle, center a family crest, Griphon, right attributed to Dowler ‘Superior Quality’ Buttons made 1861 -65 by Dowler during American Civil War.
5)Double end Whistles.
Double end whistles (At times refered to as Composition whistle, Hybrid whistle & Torpedo whistle) made of a round pea whistle & a TNT, stamped Dowler & Sons Gt. Charles St. Birmingham (3rd Period).
1) I highly recommend reading Martyn Gilchrist & Simon Topmann book ‘Collecting Police Whistles and Similar Types’ Known to collectors as CPW book and published in 1998, and the book ‘More Whistles’ by Gilchrist, to those with serious interest in the history of whistles. I also recommend reading in other whistle blogs as ones of Whistlecollection, Whistlegallery, as well as whistleshopUK and worthpoint both have many of the Dowler whistles sold on eBay over the last decade. 2) While J. Stevens & Son produced THE FIRST design of the two note tube whistles (Porteous Design) Model #27 Pre 1865, Dowler was the first to produce his versions of similar ones with minute changes and supply these to police forces. As far as I know he was the 2nd to produce TNT whistles. 3) Regarding the Period Division, This is an on going research and the exact year & month at times are important so some periods may be ’rounded’ by one year earlier or later, either dew to cautiousness or luck of a valid proof, this is something I still work on refining. Some of the periods may change by a year at time depending on a certain month. I did my best going through hundreds of whistles and stamps If you do have you do have comments or photos which may help kindly send an email or join the Antique whistles Ancien Sifflets on Facebook. 4) The term Beaufort is used for many types of Conical Whistles, Two Notes Conical Whistles TNC, Nick Named Beauforts and known as Tapered Double Tone at their time. I separate two main types but the are more and named them THE TWO NOTES CONICAL – TNC. and the SINGLE NOTE CONICAL WHISTLE – SNC. 5) I was hoping to include many whistles, but as it evolved to many dozens of photos I postponed part III b which evolved to be a much larger task than expected, considering the time and my limited graphic skills.
Whistles used as Bird Calls are a huge category,
Many of the hand operated type whistles vs. Mouth whistles use a Bellow,
There are few types of Bellows. This time I will review few pedal shape bellows
made of wood & leather. The operation is by hand & the term is used because of the shape albeit I think these could be played by the foot as well.
Here are few examples of Antique Bird Calls – Whistles, 19th century to early 1900, certainly a seldom met with type.
The French and European Continent Bird Calls & are very different than the American ones, and of the far east ones.
These I believed to be folk art work of rural hunters; Tin whistle combining a mechanical element, a Bellow – Pedal shaped Bellow & Whistle, but found out some stamped bellows.
I had looked through many catalogs of bird calls – whistle manufacturers from mid 19th Century onward and had never seen one in a catalogue.
There are four different calls here all from France & Neighbouring countries (Belgium) , I would be glad to see more if the reader happens to have.
Next is one taken apart, the Tin whistle incorporating a button type whistle can be used inhaling or exhaling it seems that when attached to the Bellow it works by pressing the bellow and it omits a sound when released, but short lite press and release movements produce both sounds.
The calls are made of various materials including a Tin Whistle , Leather, wood, steel spring & iron nails.
Samuel Auld started making whistles in the earlier part of the 1870s, after Joining Westwood (See another article about a previously unknown maker J. Westwood which I found) Auld partnership with Westwood at Globe Brass foundry 248 Gallowgate st. (Both were the sole partners dissolved on July 20 1877 and announced legally 31 October 1877.
Signalpfeife, Trillerpfeife, Lockpfeife, Tonpfeife, Keramikpfeife, Spielzeugpfeife, Stimmpfeifen, Musikpfeifen, kleine Musikinstrumente und Zubehoer:Pfeifen, die nicht zum Rauchen sind, sondern, um Toene zu produzieren; Deutsche Signalinstrumentenfabriken, Deutschland. A. Strauss . ( Arbeit in Produktion)
Die Absicht dieses Artikels ist es, ein Bewusstsein fuer das oben genannte Thema zu schaffen Das Themenfeld der Sammlung von Trillerpfeifen ist nur wenig im oeffentlichen Interesse Deutschlands vertreten, oft nur als Nebenprodukt bekannt in der Ausruestung von Militaer, Polizei oder Feuerwehr. Dabei gibt es noch so viel mehr: im Transport wie im Zugverkehr, als Schmuck, im Sport, bei der Jagd, als Lockpfeife, Hundepfeife, als Spielzeug, als Geschenk oder Souvenir.
Das sind nur einige Beispiele. Bald mehr an dieser Stelle. Bei Interesse kontaktieren Sie mich gerne, wenn Sie selbst Trillerpfeifen und Zubehoer besitzen und mehr erfahren oder sich darueber austauschen moechten. Gerne koennen Sie mir Bilder senden. firstname.lastname@example.org
An English dog call or hunting signal call, Two different hand made copper buttons depicting a horse on one button and a dog on the other, I call these type art button whistles since the so called “Buttons” were never made as actual buttons but rather seem to be especially made as copper side plates.
The body is made of thick Iron, two parts, and a triangle made of thick wire for loop. Altogether 4 parts loop and pea. It is Victorian and an early Escargot type –
Snail Type – button whistle. The dating of these is not yet clear but an educated guess would be 1850s to 1870s. Continue reading Button Whistles I. Button Whistles Corner. A.Strauss
Stevens & Sons Whistles & History. Avner Strauss
Part A (Underconstruction)
General History, Addresses, Richard Porteous importance and inventions, Railway and more adv. Stamps time line and a glimpse at few whistle example
from many more to be discussed in more details in part B , C, & D , as interlude.
John Stevens 1779 – 1861 James John Stevens 1807-1881 James Stevens Jr. 1840 –1911 Warwick Alan Stevens 1842– 1924 Richard Porteous 1802-1881
John Stevens was Born in Birmingham 1779 and came to London to start his Business in the early 1800s, He started as a maker and supplier of agricultural
Implement maker, supplying the army with Shovels & pick axe handles,
during the Napoleonic wars. Soon after the wars he moved into Gas pipes making supplies and engineering, and into Railway supplies which was a fast growing business which he got into influenced by his wife’s Brother who was an agent for railway supplies.
In the 1820s, 1830s he was mentioned as having connection to George Stephenson . ( Inventor of the Locomotive, the miner lamp and “Father of the Railway”)
The company grew fast with his son James John Stevens joining and expanding the firm taking part in the Great exhibition of 1851 and 1861 so in the pre Glasgow branch (1865) they already had close to 70 employees while the new SIGNAL WORK kept growing after his father the founder John Stevens died (1861)
James moved with his family to Glasgow in the 1860’s. Stevens & Sons c. 1865 James John Stevens age 58, and two sons James Stevens Jr.age 25 & Warwick Alan Stevens age 23. [other sons which seemed to be less involved in the family business are Leicester Bradney Stevens 1851-1914 and Stafford Evan Stevens 1845 – 1866 who died at the age of 21 are not in photo]
John Stevens Tombstone * at Norwood grave 3817, square 47
(d. December 4 1861 ) other burials at
the grave are
James John Stevens ,
Caroline Matilda Stevens
(d .19th Nov 1871),
Anna Maria Stevens
(d. 26June 1858 )
and Stafford Evan Stevens
(d.12 March1866 )
General note and observation with some reservation: At the time period, there were no whistle makers per se but rather brass founders iron mongers and Arm makers, Kitchen ware manufacturers Button makers and other goods, who made whistles as a “side line”, Today whistle collectors and scholars relate to some as Whistle Makers. This article here concentrates on the general Company History and whistles made or attributed to Stevens & Sons and less in many other aspects ( There are many details ) of the family Biography.
See my article about 19th century Whistle Makers.
It is also important to understand that as manufacturers and factory owners had rarely a shop of their own and were dependent on orders from retailers, contractors and companies, this explains that rarely an actual manufacturer name is stamped and many times a stamp of the retailers,
companies or inventor appears.
Stevens & Son, were one of the 3 great whistle makers up to 1860s.
And by the 1840’s were manufacturers of mostly Railway related goods: The railway Times Magazine Vol. II 1839 Adv. by Stevens & Son
We can Learn about the diversity of products and projects Stevens & son were manufacturing in 1839 : GAS-ENGINEERS, OBELISK, Black Friars road : Gas works for railways, manufactories, Cast Iron tanks, Liquer backs, Steam Boilers, cast main pipes for gas, steam or water, improved coke ovens, drying stores, and steam Kilns for grain constructed and erected in any part of England. Wrought- iron tubes and gas fittings of all kinds, brass and gun metal castings, Chemical apparatus, Experimental machinery, etc. etc. Plans & estimates for the above.
One may note which of the above relates to whistles.
From huge iron constructions to Railway Signals and smaller Scales, Hand Lamps and of cource whistles which were not mentenioned in advertisments. Below you can see part of a Scale made at Darlington works and a Hand Lamp made by Stevens in the 1840s .
Here is a historic whistle, heavy gun metal made of one rod and a screw mouthpiece, early whistle before size and weigh were reduced designed by Porteous and made by Stevens C. 1920s, 1830s. A previously unknown whistle found 2015 which employs the first known compound round Mouthpiece . Part C has a lot more on this whistle and many more, as wellas the next one.
The whistle is embossed with the image of a Hi wheel Penny Farthing Bicycle rider surrounded with a laurel wreath, and having two identical front and back sides.
It may had been made as a prize for the winner in some bike riding race competition, made in the U.S.A c. 1870’s to early 80’s . It was found in New England and it the first and only one seen by the author so far.
The whistle has two notes ; F# and G# . It has an interesting unique diaphragm and a smaller chamber at one side of the inside part to make the higher pitch.
Dimensions; 66mm by 45mm, by 10mm .
Article, Photos and content by Avner Strauss, all right reserved ,
no part of this webpage is to be used without the explicit permission of the owner.
Email : email@example.com All rights reserved 2017
Jul. Heinr. Zimmerman, Important German Whistle Manufacturer, Maker, History & Samples by A. Strauss, Catalog Pages ( (Under Construction)
Julius Heinrich Zimmermann, Born 22. September 1851 in Sternberg
Died 25. April 1922 in Berlin (1851-1923) was a large musical instruments maker , publisher, and whistle maker, his family kept his business running but at some point (C. 1928 )they had abandoned whistle and musical instrument manufacturing ׂׂׂׂ in favor of music publishing.
A picture of his workshop circa 1899 , on the shelves on the right hand side one may see a variety of whistles.