James Dixon & Sons Other Rare Whistles, Models & Designs. Part.II.c. Avner Strauss

This is the last part about James Dixon & Sons Whistles and History
in 9 parts. (See links to all 9 parts at bottom).
I started the article with  Two Note Tube whistle (TNT) the one commonly identified with police whistles and invented by Porteous for Stevens & Sons,
It was only in 2006 that I discovered the first one.
There are two known examples of this whistle,
Here is a Drawing of model # 55 in Dixon’s catalogue of 1895. The whistle was made before that, and was described as a railway whistle.

Continue reading James Dixon & Sons Other Rare Whistles, Models & Designs. Part.II.c. Avner 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

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

The “Uneedit” Multitool whistle, Round pea Whistle , Extractor . corkscrew & cigar cutter , Victorian, England.

uedeet poses for cam whistle museumThe “Uneedit” Multitool , advertised in the Victorian catalogue,
Spratt’s Gamekeepper’s Sundries as : Continue reading The “Uneedit” Multitool whistle, Round pea Whistle , Extractor . corkscrew & cigar cutter , Victorian, England.

The First Two Notes Tube Whistle and The Invention of the Partition, The development of the Police Whistles. Stevens & Sons . By A. Strauss

The First Two Notes Tube Whistle (G.S.W) With Partition Discovered  Stevens & Son. By A. Strauss (Part B) Underconstruction

The article shows the development of the TNT whistle TNTW (Two note tube) known to most collectors as a General Service whistle (G.S.W) , the development stages and periods from the 1840s to 1870s and later.

To part A Stevens & Son History & More. 

Part C   
Dating Stevens Whistles Early and Round Whistles

Part D Stevens Bell Whistles and the Inventor

Stevens & Sons at Darlington Works,  1865 .

2016 was THE BEST  in many years ( for me )  in discovering fantastic ground breaking news about whistles , and information about Whistle Makers – Manufacturers,
Some really change all we knew and thought about whistle history , whistory.
While preparing long articles with serious news about unknown whistles and new historical facts , for this blog , I thought of sharing this , since I had some reasons to celebrate today so here is a taste of some of  the new findings about Stevens’s whistles and history.

The Invention of the partition or TUBULAR WHISTLE WITH A PARTITION
and two different lengtn chambers . belonging to Richard Porteous and made by J. Stevens & SonPrior to 1866 .

The FIRST KNOWN G.S.W – General Service Whistle , Or
T.N.T – Two Notes Tube Whistle or TNTW a term I prefer .
The Partition is a long rectangular metal sheet inserted within the tube of the whistle’s body; thus dividing the whistle into Two Chambers , then making  UNEVEN depth or length to each chamber by shortening the inside part of one chamber so it produces a higher pitch than the longer one .
This could be done by few drops of lead inside one of the chambers, or by making the inside part of the top uneven, or in later years by bending the partition 45 degrees at its end so it cuts one chamber shorter, so the whistle plays two notes of different frequency and pitch at the same time creating a dissonance which has a louder and more alarming sound than a single note.  Continue reading The First Two Notes Tube Whistle and The Invention of the Partition, The development of the Police Whistles. Stevens & Sons . By A. Strauss

Police Fire-Genaral Service Whistles-2-note-cylinderical-whistles-two-notes-tube-whistles-gsws-bobbie-whistle

Police & Fire, General service whistles, 2 note cylindrical whistles, two notes tube whistles, GSWs, Bobbie whistle
Police or Fire whistles, The City whistle, The City Police. (To be cont.)   A Strauss Copyright © 2009

Preface : This article was written about 8 years ago and was published 2009 in the older whistle museum website. I bring it as is albeit  I have learned many things and meanwhile discovered more whistles and gained some more knowledge although it may have some mistakes I leave it as is  I would try and find time to edit meanwhile I bring it as it is, but I shall add a note that the number 13 referred to patent class, at the time I did not know that .
It is my observation today that these stamps and whistles are a huge subject since it was an important outlet for many makers , for two reasons:
1) The minimum order at the time was the quantity of 144 (Twelve dozens ) whistles, making a particular stamp was expensive and so these whistles were in use with many smaller forces and rural police , Fire brigades etc that did not or could not order that minimum in a particular time point.
2) Hudson did have a very large part of the market with the Metropolitan Whistle type and ” The answer to the Metropolitan ”  was the City Police Police Or Fire etc, stamps  which gave smaller companies a break thru to many smaller forces,  local suppliers and individuals.

You are welcome to ask questions or send to my email : info@avnerstrauss.com
or join the antique whistle group in facebook , It proved very helpful in sharing and learning about whistles .
Best wishes Aver Strauss

Police & Fire, General service whistles, 2 note cylinderical whistles, Two notes tube whistles – ( TNT or TNTW) , GSWs, Bobbie whistle
Police or Fire whistles, The City whistle, The City Police. (To be cont.)
A Strauss Copyright © 2009
These whistles are a favorite subject of mine, a subject usually over looked by whistle collectors & little researched,  there are  few hundred variations made by many British makers (Yates, Ward, Hudson, Walton, DeCourcy , Barrall ) and by German, American, Chinese & Indian makers, as well as stamps by Numerous RETAILERS & Companies,  many yet to be discovered .
All these whistles belong to the professional type whistles referred to as General service whistles, GSW’s, [ we all should be in debt to Martin Gilchrist who was a pioneer and mentor  in the research of GSW’s – General Service Whistles , a term he coined and his marvelous books about whistles ]   2 note cylinderical whistles, Two notes tube whistles, Bobbie whistle.

All these whistles have two main stamp variations;

A)  Stamps with the words “Police or Fire” or “Fire & Police”

B ) Stamps with the word “City” included (“The City police ” or “The City Police or Fire” etc.) *

Many times a maker can be identified by the wording / name of whistle
and by the stamp design and number of lines, I had made a list of these body stamps and still work on it.
The evolution of the stamps follows somewhat a chronological order , The city, The City Police , The city Police or Fire, City police or fire whistle.
There are hundreds of stamp variations and since these were made over a relatively long period they can serve whistle enthusiasts well for a comparative study & research.
Another aspect is that most do not carry the makers name and it is a challenge to identify the maker which at times needs  research, comparing and observing, using  small details to identify the maker. NMM is short here for no maker mark.
Some stamps can serve well to Identify the maker.

Since it is a new subject and has many aspects I will slowly update it, these whistles were all made from the late 1880s to 1930s , and used for various purposes notably with many factories mainly textile and arms Companies & Laboratories, were dangers of fire hazards were crucial & by local police and security forces all over the old world.



H A Ward , “The Standart Police or Fire Whistle”, two stamp variations, one with maker’s name, one without.
2 Lines Stamp & 4 Lines Stamp. made 1889 to early 1900. Nickel Plated Brass 88mm. superior sound and quality, Ward’s top model.
Continue reading Police Fire-Genaral Service Whistles-2-note-cylinderical-whistles-two-notes-tube-whistles-gsws-bobbie-whistle

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.