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

Dixon & Sons Extractors – Cartridge Pullers, Shooting Gudgets with Dog Whistles, combination whistles & Other Dual Function Combination Whistles. II. b. A Strauss

Dixon & Sons Extractors & other combination whistles. A Strauss

A photo of 6 examples enlarged from the Sheffield City Collection;

Model #104R made late 1870s and later, Length; 75 mm Powder primer and picker combined with dog whistle.
Here is a drawing of this model #104N as appears in the 1882 catalogue
and in the Sheffield city collection.Model #220N from the same catalogue & period.
Model #220 as seen in the catalogue and actual one in closed position.
You may note that all this combination- shooting gudgets -multitools – with whistles, used round dog call whistles that were made as separate models before.Model #220N Powder primer with outside self-acting picker for gun nipples.

Model #220N as stamped on whistle was made late 1870’s early 1880s, shows in the 1882 catalogue.

Next; Moffatt’s Patent #11396 registered 1887. It included a spring blade which comes out between the two cartridge puller claws.

Continue reading Dixon & Sons Extractors – Cartridge Pullers, Shooting Gudgets with Dog Whistles, combination whistles & Other Dual Function Combination Whistles. II. b. A Strauss

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

James Dixon & Sons Whistles & History In the 19th Century. Avner Strauss

James Dixon, Dixon & Son, James Dixon & Sons Whistles, A Brief History of Whistles in a Few Parts. Avner Strauss

Under construction, kindly drop in occasionally for updates.

                                        Whistle Model # 55 by Dixon & Sons


Recently I have been digging through layers of “modern archeology”, specifically of whistles in the 19th century. Decade by decade, I have been “peeling” off the layers to reveal earlier dates. Identifying and discovering new whistles and information is a fascinating and rewarding subject for me to engage with. Discovering the first examples of dated escargots, the Bean Police, or Stevens model #27, are just a few examples. Likewise, discovering previously unknown whistle makers and bringing to light new information was a great reward for years of researching. Each discovery leads to new understandings, which, in turn, lead to an ever-increasing interest. I take great pleasure in sharing my thoughts and findings and wish to someday open a real whistle museum as well as publish my research, thus making everything even more accessible.

Dixon & Sons was one of the four large whistle makers in England up to 1880. While T. Yates and Stevens, and W. Dowler, the other three makers, were large, Dixon was, by far, larger. The family’s history and products are well documented and I can turn the attention of readers to one of few books. Here is a link to a PDF of one of them. In what follows, I shall concentrate on whistles and give a short overview of their history.

I started my research after coming across the 1st known TNT whistle stamped by Dixon (2006). I now know there are two of them. After I posted my first bit of research about Dixon on Wikipedia, someone noted that it should be erased as it is doubtful that a company by that name ever existed… Today, there are already hundreds of articles and photos, as well as many other resources. However, the subject of whistles is relatively still little-researched, and therefore I hope this text will contribute to collectors and others interested in whistles.

Here is an old post I wrote about Dixon (it includes mistakes, but since it was archived somewhere else, I cannot revise it): http://archive.is/RuZZb

The article shared here is, hitherto, the most comprehensive essay about the subject of Dixon & Sons whistles. There are, of course, many whistles I know of and did not include, as well as many that are still waiting to be discovered.

The full article is in 9 sub-parts. 
Part I (6 chapters)

1) Brief History and data (19th Century)
Part I.a. Round whistles by Dixon & Sons;
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 (3 chapters)
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. 

As a rule, my observation is that many whistles made as DOG CALLS did not use a pea. (A.S*)
A small collection of 41 whistles was given by the Dixon family in 1938 to the city of Sheffield, and was exhibited at the city hall. There are many whistles which Dixon made during the 19th century and are not among these.

You may take a CLOSE look and note that 27 are ROUND WHISTLES, and 6 more are round whistles combined with shooting gudgets.


The James Dixon & Sons Company was a family-run business for 170 years (up to 1876) and was located at Cornish Place for over 180 years (up to 1992).
James Dixon was the Founder company established 1806.
James Dixon later  Dixon & Sons were one of the major British manufacturers in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. They were well known as manufacturers of pewterware, electroplated Britannia metal, silverware, and electroplated nickel silver. Their product range included hundreds of items for domestic use in the kitchen (inc. bowls, cutting-tools), and the dining room (e.g. tea services, cocktail shakers and mixers), and items like candlesticks for general household use. They were also a world leader in manufacturing shooting accessories through the nineteenth century, and exported powder flasks in large quantities to America. While Dixon & Sons were known for their whistles, all of their products were of outstanding quality. Continue reading James Dixon & Sons Whistles & History In the 19th Century. Avner Strauss

Professional Whistle Manufacturers in England during the 19th Century, timeline. A. Strauss


Early British companies that produced whistles did not advertise their whistles, and, in fact, had many lines of other product categories. These whistles – known at that period as “Calls” – were a marginal category in terms of the company’s general revenue or “core” manufacturing line. Some changed their main line of products during the 19th century.
Today we learn about whistles from various sources, namely archival sources such as newspapers mentioning incidents of fire or theft. Other sources include books and other printed articles, some directories, censuses from 1841 onward, exhibitions, registered patents and designs, silver hallmarks or Lozegne marks, coins and buttons, museum archives, paintings, genealogy websites, church birth and death certificates, online forums on various topics, and – often times – from private collectors and whistle scholars.

To the best of our knowledge, the first British catalog to include whistles was published in 1870 by Yates and several foreign publishers advertising British-made whistles overseas. The next catalogs to include whistles were published in the 1880’s by J. Dixon & Sons, Shand Mason’s Fire Equipment Co., W.G. & J Hawksley, and advertisements by J. Hudson & Co. In the 1890’s and early 1900’s we see J.R Gaunt, Dixon, Ward, Walton, DeCourcy, B. Lilly & Sons, and J. Hudson & Co.

The four large English whistle makers of the mid-19th century (Early 1800’s to 1870’s) were located in three centers, Birmingham London & Sheffield and later in Glasgow as well, They were, as mentioned, mainly manufacturing other categories of products, with which they were commercially associated. Whistles were such a marginal category that they were never even included in their advertisements until 1870. These Four companies were:
Dixon & Sons –  (Est 1806 ) Arm & Hunting related products, Kitchen ware Silver ware and more. (Dixon became an empire and the family’s history is well documented, in books and articles.
Stevens & Sons – (Est. c 1805 )Railway related Products, in cluding lamps, scales Railway Signals and others.
Dowler & Sons – ( est. early & but whistles c 1850s ) Buttons, Medals, Military accoutrements, Phosphor Matches and many other Brass made instruments.
T.Yates Co.  (est. Earlier but whistles prob. since 1840’s 50’s) Kitchen Ware,  Spoons Forks and silver plated kitchen accessories.

The last quarter of the 19th century saw the rise of Joseph Hudson & Co.
(Acme Whistles)
, which was established in the 1870’s with Joseph’s brother James, and became, in the early 1880’s, the first company to manufacture and sell whistles as one of its core product categories. Gradually acquiring their competitors, as well as more tools and machinery, the company thrived and became the larger and dominant whistle maker of the late 19th and 20th century.

That said, we should note other outstanding makers in the category. These include:
Bent & Parker (Parker Joined Bent 1863), J. Linegar, Ward & Sons, John Lilly, and Charles Parker (Late Merry Parker & Merry). All were active by 1850’s, alongside many silversmiths, who should also be mentioned as whistle makers.

Makers of Professional* Whistles in England during the 19th Century: A Timeline**

The names below are shown in chronological order based on either the appearance of advertisements or actual whistles found. Some Gaunt[?], for example, appeared in earlier directories, but I cannot yet attribute a whistle to them (I may do so in the future as new evidence come to light). The names of the manufacturers are not repeated, therefore, the 1890’ list does not include already mentioned names. Moreover, the list does not include names known only from advertisement or directories. This does not include many makers who made professional whistles as well in silver, Jennens, Hilliard & Thomason, Samson Mordan, etc.
Underlined are important makers of large volume production.
Underlined are larger makers.


1800 – 1820
Dixon & Sons
Stevens & Son

Dixon & Sons
Stevens & Son

Lilly John & William
Merry Phipson & Parker Late 1830s
Bent & Parker Bent since 1835 Parker Joined 1863

1840’s Victorian times
Parker C. ( Late Merry Parker & Merry )

(check Linegar & Son appear Before 1835, no identified whistles from that period)
W. Dowler & Sons
B. Lilly & son

Coney & Co
B. Lilly & Sons

Smith & wright

De Courcy
Black & Co
J.R. Gaunt


All these makers were Located Mostly in Birmingham, Glasgow, Sheffield & London
Professional whistles (by function) is a general term I coined for whistles made mostly for use by various forces and officials in some public service or organization. These were made mostly of brass and Britannia metal, German silver, and – rarely – of ivory, bone, horn or silver. The list excludes potters making clay whistles, makers of scientific instruments, large steam whistles, wood turned whistles, etc. 
** Makers of which only one or two whistles are known where omitted.
There are probably 10.
So were few which the advertisements for their whistles appeared in directories.
Some very large silversmithing companies which made professional whistles in silver (mostly Boatswain’s pipes – Bosun calls whistles, and cased SNC whistles (single note conical) were omitted as well.

All rights reserved, Avner Strauss, 2017


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

Charles Parker, A Birmingham Whistle Maker History and News about Dowler & Sons A.Strauss

Charles Parker was a maker of professional  whistles in the first half of the 19th Century in Birmingham.

Although he died early  in 1852 he had a great impact . As inventor he may well had been the first to design the First Beaufort whistle with the common STANDARD design in the late 1840s, and the Wedge diaphragm .
See Photos of 3 Standard Beaufort shaped (Two Notes Conical Whistles ) with
Parker’s name stamp variations. (Along Body Parker ,  Parker & Dowler and Parker facing top)

His connection to William Dowler (Later & Sons ) In the early 1850s  is a fascinating find and led me to observe Dowler & Sons were  the first to supply Police & Constabulary whistles stamped with a force name .
(some through agents ).
The history of this newly discovered maker is entwined with the history of few companies mostly The Merry family & Dowler ( Footnote)*
The 42 Cherry St. Birmingham can be used as a center point to tell some of what I had found up to now.

Birmingham , Cherry St. view 1880s

The address of 42 Cherry St. ( # 40 & 41 were used by the Merry family as well in various years ) served as a Brass foundry and all manufacturers mentioned were Button &  Military Ornament Makers, beside other goods. Here are the various companies occupying The address as mentioned by various sources in Chronological order : Continue reading Charles Parker, A Birmingham Whistle Maker History and News about Dowler & Sons A.Strauss

Black & Co. a 19th Century Glasgow Whistle Maker History & Whistles. A. Strauss

Black & Co. ( David Black ) 81 North Frederick St. Glasgow –  1885 (or 1883) to 1898 ,  Zin & Tin workers Packing-Case Makers  were pioneers of Snail type whistle making and may well have been the first to use the title ‘ Thunderer ‘ for a whistle.
Little was known about the company’s  History, a new whistle; the first one stamped with maker’s name which proved to be a Key Whistle, triggered me to more research and findings .
Previously many whistles as these, none stamped whistles attributed to Black showed, All 5 piece London type snail ( Escargot ) whistles.
Here is the new one, fully stamped found.

A railway guard whistle stamped D. Black Maker Glasgow, And  C & OR for Callander & Oban Railway  (a small railway Co. ) on one side,  other side shows # 3

Black & Co., Ltd.
Address : 81 North Frederick St. Glasgow
 1886 Glasgow post office directory.
 Mrs. Black was manager of the Black & Co. Making cases,  By 1886 they were Continue reading Black & Co. a 19th Century Glasgow Whistle Maker History & Whistles. A. Strauss