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.
Two important American whistles long searched for by whistle collectors
were found April 2019.
Alexander P Hatch Patents were thought as none existing, since none were seen and the patents applied for stated no model examples.
As to rarity we know of another Plural whistle I discovered with a long time U.S.A collector in 2016, The Police one is the only example I know of.
I imagine there are more to be discovered and there is a good chance that the more fancy variation with few combined whistles as seen on the same patent of the plural whistle is somewhere out there… (so it is with the British Plural one that I posted the patent for last year, no actual example ever seen – it is from the same period)
keep your eyes open it is a treasure probably worth well over a 1000, hopefully with more exposure to the ones that just surfaced more will show up in the future.
It is a pity that there is no information about this inventor who was a citizen of Bridgeport Connecticut at the time, I am sure an extensive research can reveal much more as to his life, Albeit the fact that his whistle patents are among the most cited by whistle inventors, dozens of newly patented whistles since then quote his patents, including 21st century ones.
Alexander P. Hatch American Whistle patents App. for 1899 & 1901
Both are made of Nickel Plated Brass.
I highly recommend reading carefully the patents description & drawings in the next links.
The one on left side is know as the plural whistle and you may see the patent drawings and description HERE at google patent storage
It was found with the original chain in an old bicycle store, in mint condition.
The whistle on the right a tube whistle with unique design and partition is stamped
POLICE DEPARTMENT and has patent date as well see google patents HERE All rights reseved to A. Strauss Whistle museum
we are glad to help with any questions regarding whistles,
please attach photos to questions, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
These whistles were registered by ACME WHISTLES,
J. Hudson & Co. Birmingham in 1911 They are similar to button whistles in having an emblem embossed on cap, and are all made of nickel plated Brass.
In the photo, top to bottom: Tudor Rose, Shamrock, Rose, & Thistle
It is the first addition of Acme Whistle 3 registered designs with emblems embossed on caps.
Reg. design #578510 Model # 616
Reg. design #577844 Model # 617
The Rose Reg. design # 576579 Model # 618
The Tudor Rose at the top is smaller, has a shorter Cap & beak, very rare, Martyn Gilchrist the great whistle scholar, wrote in his book
More Whistles (2005) Pg. 11, That ‘it was lodged but it is believed none were ever produced’. Mean while I discovered two variations so it was produced but probably in a VERY LIMITED one time edition each time.
It has only two known versions one with P. 608282/ 12 on side cap and one without embossed number.
All of the first edition bubble tops of this series are rare, some stamps & emblems are rarer.Excerpt from Acme Whistles Catalogue showing the 3 models.
The Symbols (From Wikipedia)
A shamrock is a young sprig, used as a symbol of Ireland. Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity.
The thistle has been the national emblem of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III (1249–1286) and was used on silver coins issued by James III in 1470. It is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle, a high chivalric order of Scotland.
The white of York and the red of Lancaster are joined together to make The Tudor rose, marking the union of the two houses and the beginning of a Tudor reign. The Tudor rose was used as a symbol of peace and today it is used as the symbol of England, just as Scotland uses a thistle,
Wales a leek and Ireland a shamrock.
THE MANY VARIATIONS
These Registered designs were unique to Acme whistles (see exception* ) and were popular for at least 25 years ahead in different additions and variations. Without going into all the details I will mention that there are dozens of variations, and in GENERAL they vary at 3 main features :
THE TOPS 4 TYPES
1) Bubble top
2) Humpback Tops
3) Humpback with Groove (Implied to whistle by wiring technique)
4) Flying V top (See photos below)
All the three show with these variation:
Early with reg. design number embossed on cap
Later no number NO number embossed to cap
Number embossed to cap at one side
The Tudor Rose Early with 1912 Patent stamp on cap
with or without number (Only on Tudor Rose,*)
The Acme Registered,
The Acme Registered with arched emblem name ( Rose, Shamrock, Thistle)
The Acme Registered and England above the Tooth grip.
No Stamp at all
There may be one having both the emblem name and England, I had not seen one yet.
Dating the variations between 1911 to C. late 1930s I believe, is not an easy task,
but one can rely on the various Tops & Stamps.
The price of whistles in these
whistles varies a lot and the earlier bubble tops first edition is over 100 USD if to judge by the last ones observed on eBay.
NOTE that a whistle can find a Whistle with a BUBBLE TOP and any of the Caps & Stamp variations which more than triples the variations.
Here is the Tudor rose on left (One or two known**)
and on the center and right BOTH ARE Shamrock with two different stamp variations. So a full set of three Bubble tops
1) Numbered on side / the name of the emblem at front /
2) Another set : Bubble tops / no number on side / and the name of emblem on front / ETC. There are at least 5 variations of a FULL Trio Bubble tops set
A complete early edition would have 15 whistles 5 sets of three bubble tops
(as in Postage stamps )/ and that does not include the tudor roses,
and and there are still 3 other style tops (None bubble series)
The Tudor Rose Close
Here one may see number P-608282 -12
1912 Patent 608282 on cap and England above tooth grip Observed only on the Tudor rose
Closeup on a Thistle Bubble top and Number on side cap
Flying V Top J. Hudson & Co. Patent # 214519 / 1924 Made 1924 onward
Reg. Numbered design embossed on side cap is an earlier 1920s versionExample of a later edition 1930s with Shamrock emblem,
no emblem name on stamp, no number on cap and
HUMPBACK Top(Hamp top).
Full set of POST 1924 series but still NOTE STAMP VARIATIONS ON FRONT
reflecting period variations 1920s 1930s
While writing I encountered the next whistle which was made earlier has a button like domed sides and has the same feature as the 1911 ones, the Feature of “Folded Beak” construction with a seam which can be seen in the middle of the underside. It was used by Acme since 1894, (Dixon used it as well at the same time including domed sides, one example found in 2018)
The whistle came in 3 sizes see catalogue excerpt below, here is the smaller one model number 61 and 1/2
It has a brass salesman tag with model number, and it is an earlier one since later they used Aluminum tags.
This type was made by Hudson & Co. Acme Whistles Ltd. up to the 1970s.
Catalogue excerpt showing the 3 domed sides lite construction snail whistles
These models were later developed and in the 1930s had 4 sizes
(061 & 1/2 size added ) and another ACME LOGO embossed emblem of THE ACME logo replace the plain domed sides.
Very nice whistles and again many variations, see catalogue for 4 sizes starting
with the same 66 & 1/2 Model as the smaller but now with The Acme Logo side.
Made in 4 Sizes 1930 Catalogue
There are few more themes of embossed sides button style snail whistles by ACME WHISTLES LTD. ( J. Hudson & Co. ) of which the dog head is the most famous but I will discuss this at some other time.
In 2005 I discovered a previously unknown similar Button style whistle with bubble top made by Alfred De Courcy, It was identified with the help of Mr. Gilchrist by the unique ‘beak’ – mouthpiece, construction which has the seam of the beak only at one side, Later on few more appeared and I realized they had few variations as well starting c. 1910s, all pre 1927 and made for the U.S.A market.
** A similar one, the Tudor Rose in silver not stamped Acme and with a wire loop
top was observed and more common, I had nor examined it carefully yet.All rights for photos and article reserved to the author. Contact info – email@example.com
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.
Early ‘Bobbie Whistle’, Whale-Bone Pea Whistle Pre Metropolitan Police Constable Whistle from Hill’s Family.
1821 Early ‘Peeler’, ‘Bobbie Whistle’,Whale-Bone Pea Whistle Pre Metropolitan Police Constable Whistle from Hill’s Family. The next email and photos I quote word for word with some private lines omitted, is from Mr. John Hill Noted for his Great Articles about Historic Places and Cultures among others.
I received it with answers to my questions, I chose to put Some technical and Family history in Bold letters.
What a pleasant surprise it was to receive your friendly and interesting email. And what a treat it was to discover your fabulous website on whistles – it is absolutely wonderful – congratulations!
My father said it belonged to his great-great-grandfather who was a “Hill” who lived in London and was one of the early “Peelers” (also called “Bobbies” – after Robert or “Bobbie” Peel) or the specialist police set up on the suggestion of Sir Robert Peel in 1814 in Ireland and, in 1829, 1000 men were formed into the “Metropolitan Police Force” who were regularly referred to as “Peelers”. It apparently belonged to him and he carried it while at work. I was lucky enough to inherit it from my father.
We don’t know much about this distant ancestor as the family history seems to have been broken when my grandfather, Alfred Hodson Hill (1887-1977), moved c. 1910 to Montreal, Canada. Before that, his father (who was a silversmith and son of the “Peeler” who owned the whistle) and family moved to Sheffield from London at some unknown date in the 19th century.
That is about as far as the family stories go.
How lovely to hear back from you! I only wish my father was still alive – he would have been so excited to find someone so interested in his family heirloom.
It truly is a unique whistle – i have been very fond of it since childhood and always impressed with the fact that ti is undoubtedly unique.
The whistle is, as you know, carved in the shape of a whale in
(presumably) whale-bone – but maybe from sperm-whale teeth or walrus ivory – I wouldn’t know how to tell the difference – can you help with this? Also, would it be useful for me to gently rub it with mineral oil – or do you have another suggestion – or, should I just leave it alone ?
One blows through the mouth of the whale to make it whistle. It does have a dark brown “pea” (roughly 8 mm. in diameter) inside the whistle, and the hole (where the sound comes out) does not contain a reed or anything other than the original piece of whale bone – with a sharp-edged hole cut into it.
It is just about exactly 8 cm long, 3cm wide at the widest point, 2 cm high
at its highest point (on the top of the whale’s head),
and about 1.5 cm wide at the narrowest place.
It still has a good-sounding loud, piercing whistle –
I still use it occasionally to call guests from a little cabin we have about 80 metres from our home.
If I may add I believe the maker was a very fine skilled craftsman who hopefully made other whistles as well. It is also notable that it is a PEA WHISTLE.
Whistle Museum all rights reserved.
American Bosun Pipes, Bosun Whistles, and More. A.Strauss Some of you may remember that the old whistle museum website was lost, later I was able to save many posts from there using the Time machine web archive. I started copying some of the 500 posts the photos may not be as good as the original ones and will now have a double ‘whistle museum’ stamp but will suffice. This post was one of many dealing with the subject of Bosun whistles, I will spontaneously bring more while I keep researching and studying. A.S
American Gold Bosun Whistle, 1853 Gold Dollars sides 128mm 29gr,
Cylindrical sound chamber, Spiral wire at Keel end, 2 Filigree bands and mouthpiece, serpentine gun.
A drawer – Cabinet with few dozens of Boatswain’s pipes – Buson whistles.
The second from top right hand side is a 140mm old uncleaned silver, I was told by experts that it is from 1820 but it it seems to me as a very early estimate.
The design was certainly a USA style 19th century design since in early 20th century German catalogs of German makers, the same model appears for export as USA style Boatswains pipe.
The Model is marked “STERLING” .
A similar in weight , measures, design and size model stamped AE & Co. Utica N.Y
In a Triangular stamp
with Plain & almost straight gun
L: 140mm Weight: 24gr
It may be of a later date but I did not take the time to research that company yet. This model also in nickel plated brass became the standard for the U.S. Navy, seldom stamped with the marine vessel’s name.
The fourth from bottom right hand side is stamped , on one side :
U.S.A Pattern (Note the word pattern uses different punches for letters ).
Dated 1936 L.C.H US CGC Hamilton WHEC-715 and US COAST GUARD
on the other.
It is also stamped under the Keel’s frame LORDSHIP N.Y in between two tiny stamps inside rectangles which are too small to decipher. LORDSHIP N.Y , They used HLP as their hallmark while their corporate name was “His Lordships Products” until about 1973, they then changed their name to “Lordship Industries” and their hallmark to LI.
The next one is a nicely designed whistle made circa late 1990s early 2000’s as a souvenir often sold in a wood box inlaid with brass anchor.
When I first saw it it was 2004 and was tempted to pay few times more then it’s worth,
It is sold in souvenir shops in many port cities, along the eastern and western coast.
I consider it as an American one since I had not seen it sold anywhere else but it may be made in china or the far east .
To Be cont. Meanwhile I would like to add that looking at my whistles I found very few American Shaped ones and all together there must be many thousands of ones stamped with a SHIP’s name and US navy ones , so if any of my readers can send photos of some (will be credited) it would be appreciated.
In the meantime I realized that it could be categorized by shapes that can be easily identified and I shall bring DRAWINGS of the typical ones.
Few countries have their own typical design that can be recognized in a glance mostly by looking at the Keel – body.
Russian bosun pipe shape
American Bosun type shape
German Bosun type shape
French Bosun type shape
British bosun type shapes
Chinese Buson shapes and unique features (I did a short post about some here in the past) Early types
If you have any other examples and wish to contribute
Please email : firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
James Dixon & Sons Round Brass & German Silver Round Whistles (Part I.d.)
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).
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;
Early – 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’