Dixon & Sons Round Britannia Metal Whistles & Model #49. Part I.e. A Strauss

Dixon & Sons Round Britannia Metal Whistles & Model #49.

James Dixon  started making Britannia Metal (Invented c.1770) whistles Before 1850, Here is a group photo of 16 round pea britannia metal whistles,
11 of which were positively identified as made by Dixon & Sons, two were later found in a German (Marked as such).
Some marked X still need a second close examination dew to newly discovered catalogues by other makers.

Model #10 was made in two sizes, a distinctive Dixon’s Flushed Pillar Top Finial.
See the two sizes made in the group photo above top right is the larger model and 3rd from top left the smaller. This model was made in two sizes, but other earlier versions are noted;

Continue reading Dixon & Sons Round Britannia Metal Whistles & Model #49. Part I.e. A Strauss

James Dixon & Sons Round Brass & German Silver Round Whistles (Part I.d.) A. Strauss

James Dixon & Sons Round Brass & German Silver Round Whistles (Part I.d.)
A. Strauss

After the First Early period 1800 to 1835 and later up to 1865 which was reviewed here with early examples I  move forward to look at some more German Nickel or Nickel Silver & Brass whistles, not it in chronological order.
Cracking the general early date code of whistles in the article about Stevens & Sons was a Benchmark, which enabled a clearer view of another giant whistle maker – Dixon & Sons. At the top a whistle which had been made by James Dixon the founder himself. (See next Paragraph).

Continue reading James Dixon & Sons Round Brass & German Silver Round Whistles (Part I.d.) A. Strauss

James Dixon & Sons Part I. a. Round Whistles. A.Strauss

PART I.a. Underconstruction


This part starts with metal whistles (one wooden) excluding Britannia metal made whistles which are to be uploaded later, and continues with Ivory,
Horn & Stag horn made whistles. Materials & Identifying features for Dixon whistles would be discussed later. The Part dealing with round whistles terminating with an Animal Head can be viewed here, Part I here,The begining  of Part II. a., Here.
Dew to the length PART I of the article was divided into 7 parts, all posted. 

Dixon’s whistle’s timeline divided roughly to three periods over the 19th century;
– Pre 1835 Dixon, Dixon & Son
Middle – 1835 Dixon & Sons
Later 19th Century c. 1865 – 1900

The earliest whistles Dixon made were round whistles.
These were very sturdy cast or machined from one metal rod with no hole at top, the drilled hole came later,  I believe the early ones were made mostly for military use. and later quality was upgraded in terms of materials and designs for the elite, sportsmen, and later for railways.
A very early type: A special knot was used to tie a lanyard to the whistle’s top;
 This whistle uses the “Sheffield Fipple” (a term I coined here) which is discussed in details, in a later paragraph here, and the round metal band below mouthpiece which may well be unique to Dixon (to be verified).

The next photo shows another very early Dixon on the left with the same features but a different top design, mushroom like.
A very early type beside the ‘next generation’

Continue reading James Dixon & Sons Part I. a. Round Whistles. A.Strauss

Dixon & Sons Animal Head Whistles. Part I. c. A. Strauss

Dixon & Sons Animal Head whistles. Part I. c. A. Strauss

This is part of a very long article to come, Here you can see the First part.
to Part I.a Round Whistles 

James Dixon & Sons Dog Whistles, Dog’s Head whistles Models #17, # 16, #29 From his 1883 catalogue.

Dixon started making Animal head whistles c. 1850, by 1883 there were at least
6 Dog’s head models and 5 Boar’s head whistles.
All appeared in Catalogues as Dog Calls.

Dog’s Head Whistles

Pointer’s head whistle was made in 4 materials :
Bone &
Britannia metal
Pressed Metal

The fipple was called TONGUE and made of Ebony wood, Glass eyes were used. 
Ivory Dog whistle Dated 1853 (Courtesy of whistlecollection)

Price List & Drawings animal head whistles, Used Dog Calls, taken from J. Dixon & Sons 1883 Catalogue.

 Above Model #16S. Model #16S in Ivory, Small size, under 2 inch

Model #16 Ivory Middle size.

A Dated Example, Dec. 24 1864 Model #17
Large size with Ebony tongue-fipple.
Model #19 was the same as #17 but made in Bone
Both large size and Window up.We have no record of a model #18.

It may well be that by 1883 they stopped the production of  model #18
which I believe was the same as model #17 but in BRITANNIA METAL.
( Pewter & Britannia Metal Dog head whistles are the more commonly met with, and were made in England & Germany. T. Yates made many variations and it seems very likely that Dixon & Sons made these as well, but it is a subject I still have to carefully check in order to make a definitive conclusion. Note that there are Britannia metal models mentioned in the catalogue excerpt which had not yet surfaced or identified, If you suspect you do have one, kindly send a photo)

Dixon & Sons, Model #17 Large, Ivory Ebony Tongue and glass eyes.

4  Dog head models had window down
Model # 16S very small in Ivory
#16 Ivory window down Middle size.

Model #29 was made in pressed horn, Window down
angled body.

#30 was the same as #29 but in Britannia Metal.
An actual example of #30 was not yet seen by the author.

Boar’s  Head Whistles
All 5 Models with window downward.

Dixon & Sons Whistle Model #24, Pressed Horn.

Boar’s head whistles were used in 5 models,
pressed horn (M#24)
Pressed Horn with White eyes (#25).

Three Models of the Boar’s head were made in Britannia metal with ebony tongue, 3 sizes small, middle, & large (#26, #27, #28).
No actual example of the Britannia metal ones has yet surfaced.

Full article in 9 sub-parts and links;

James Dixon & Sons Whistles & History In the 19th Century. A. Strauss
The full article is in 9 sub-parts. 
Part I (6 chapters)

1) Brief History and data (19th Century)

2) Early Period Round Whistles and ‘The sheffield Mouthpiece & Fipple’ I. a.,
3) Round Ivory & Horn I.b.
4) Animal Head Whistles, I.c.

5) Round Brass & German Silver Whistles. Signal Whistles and ‘Pig nose’ Whistles
6) Round Britannia Metal Whistles & Model #49. Part I.e.
Part 2,   More whistles by Dixon & Sons, including
7) Beauforts,
8) Extractors, combination whistles, Shooting Gudgets and other combination whistles. II. .b
9) James Dixon & Sons Other Rare Whistle Models & Designs. II.c. 

Article, Photos and content by Avner Strauss, all rights reserved ,
no part of this webpage is to be used without the explicit permission of the owner. Email : info@avnerstrauss.com
Comments & question are welcom.
Whistle museum.


Stevens & Sons Round Whistles & Some Special Ones, Part C. by Avner Strauss

Stevens & Sons Whistles (Part C)

Part A 
Part B
Part D


Dating Metal Plates on Stevens Whistles by periods (4 periods) 

A Historic Whistle Discovered,
And few important dated ones. 

EARLY round whistles Pre Mid. 19th Century made
by or attributed to Stevens & Son

The Numbered Whistles (Whistle Models) & Numbered with Plates

THE ARTICLE IS STILL under construction

Plates found on whistles by Stevens & Son- Sons 
dating and examination of plates & examples

The common plates can be devided into 4 groups and periods. * and **
Here they are in chronological order:
Continue reading Stevens & Sons Round Whistles & Some Special Ones, Part C. by Avner Strauss

John Westwood The first Glasgow Whistle Maker & Samuel Auld Whistles Breaking News ! A. Strauss

John. M. Westwood *  whistle maker  b.1856 – d. 1886
His family (James Westwood His Dad) seems to have come from New York with his other brothers, all in the brass foundry business (His brothers in the trade James, Robert, Alexander ) & a relative named Andrews who shows up later as  working with him).
John opened his own business in 1872 as Tinsmith and Gas Fitter at 73 Cumberland St. Calton, Glasgow .
                      Excerpt from 1973 Directory.Westwood made whistle which later became the model identified with S. Auld whistles.
Continue reading John Westwood The first Glasgow Whistle Maker & Samuel Auld Whistles Breaking News ! A. Strauss

Julius Heinrich Zimmermann, Important German Whistle Manufacturer, History , Samples & Catalog Pages by Avner Strauss

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.

Catalog Julius Heinrich Zimmermann 1899 Pg 2. whistle museum 600A picture of his workshop circa 1899 , on the shelves on the right hand side one may see a variety of whistles.

== Zimmerman Addresses & Branches == Continue reading Julius Heinrich Zimmermann, Important German Whistle Manufacturer, History , Samples & Catalog Pages by Avner Strauss

The First Known Patent for an American Escargot, Snail, Referee Type Whistle 1869 USA Patent , Early American whistles (1) A.Strauss

Pat. # 91,704 June 22 ,1869 .The whistle is made of a tin metal sheet .
I found the actual sample in 2005

1869 First USA Patd. for referee whistle whistle museumDrawing of the Patent, originally designed to be made in large size as steam whistle of brass, or a small tin mouth whistle.
Continue reading The First Known Patent for an American Escargot, Snail, Referee Type Whistle 1869 USA Patent , Early American whistles (1) A.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

    and Boatswain’s Pipe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boatswain’s_call

    And a newer posts as addition http://whistlemuseum.com/2014/02/24/antioue-bosun-whistles-more-designs16th-century-and-more–astrauss.aspx

  • http://whistlemuseum.com/2014/02/28/american-bosun-pipes-bosun-whistles-and-more-astrauss.aspx
  • ————————————————————————————————-

    * “The Botswain’s Call handbook”. The Marine Society & Sea Cadets. http://www.sccheadquarters.com/UserData/root/Files/Training/Proficiencies/Piping/Boatswains%20Call%20Handbook.pdf.
    * Listen;
    MP3s of the Boatswain’s call from Hellenic Navy (Greek)
    * U.S.A Navy ;
    How to use Boatswain pipe .pdf file
    * Wikipedia

    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

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