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 # 41 by Dixon & Sons

INTRODUCTION

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
I.d.
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.

PART I

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

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

Stevens & Sons Whistles (Part C)

Part A 
Part B
Part D

Contents 

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

The Bell Whistle, Stevens & Sons & Francis Webb the Inventor. Avner Strauss

Stevens & Sons Bell whistles, PART D. (To part A)

Francis  West ( 1789–1867) Was the inventor of the Bell Whistle. ( 2017 News)
Located at 83 Fleet Street London, 1829 to 1845 (some say 1850), In 1836 He used ‘West Inventor’ on Improved stanhope  Lens, (See photos), lens Made in Brass in German Silver & Silver. In 1839 he invented the Camera and also was a Publisher Optician and a man of many talents; a noted microscope maker, toy maker, and publisher. In 1939 he advertises a Fox Talbot ‘heliographic camera’ in The Mirror, the first camera to be offered to the public.

Is seems that the bell whistle was invented by him in the late 1930’s.  It is first mentioned in a book written c 1847 as “The Acron whistle(Bell Pattern)”
(See Part A).

Here are 3 bell type whistles , Invented by F. West  manufactured by Stevens & Sons, West probably sold these in his shop on Fleet st.

3 Bell type whistles believed to be made by Stevens & Son,  Though no whistle with his name was ever seen, but one may read about the possible reason here.
Continue reading The Bell Whistle, Stevens & Sons & Francis Webb the Inventor. Avner Strauss

Stevens & Sons History of the Whistle Maker & His Whistles Part A. A. Strauss

Stevens &­­­­ Sons Whistles & History.   Avner Strauss

Part A        (Underconstruction)
General History, Addresses, Richard Porteous importance and inventions, Railway and more adv.  Stamps time line and a glimpse at few whistle example
from many more to be discussed in more details in part B , C, & D , as interlude.

Whistles
Part B – Tube whistles SNT & TNT
The First Two Notes Tube Whistle,
The first SNT (Single Note Tube) with two windows ,
The Invention of the Partition, & TNT (Two Note Tube) Stevens & Sons
Part C – Dating Stevens & Sons Whistles, Dating Stevens’s Whistles,
Round Whistles & others, retailers & Much more.
Part D – Bell Whistles and the discovery of the inventor

 

John Stevens  1779 – 1861
James John Stevens 1807-1881
James Stevens Jr.  1840 –1911
Warwick Alan Stevens  1842– 1924
Richard Porteous  1802-1881

Company History 
John Stevens was Born in Birmingham 1779 and came to London to start his Business in the early 1800s, He started as a maker and supplier of agricultural
Implement maker,  supplying the army with Shovels & pick axe handles,
during the Napoleonic wars. Soon after the wars he moved into Gas pipes making supplies and engineering, and into Railway supplies which was a fast growing business which he got into influenced by his wife’s Brother who was an agent for railway supplies.
In the 1820s, 1830s he was mentioned as having connection to George  Stephenson . ( Inventor of the Locomotive, the miner lamp and “Father of the Railway”)
The company grew fast with his son James John Stevens joining and expanding the firm taking part in the Great exhibition of 1851 and 1861 so in the pre Glasgow branch (1865) they already had close to 70 employees while the new SIGNAL WORK kept growing after his father the founder John Stevens died (1861)
James moved with his family to Glasgow in the 1860’s.

Stevens & Sons c. 1865 James John Stevens age 58, and two sons James Stevens Jr.age 25 & Warwick Alan Stevens age 23. [other sons which seemed to be less involved in the family business are Leicester Bradney Stevens 1851-1914 and Stafford Evan Stevens 1845 – 1866 who died at the age of 21 are not in photo]

John Stevens Tombstone * at Norwood grave 3817, square 47
(d. December 4 1861 )
other burials at
the grave are
James John Stevens ,
Caroline Matilda Stevens
(d .19th Nov 1871),
Anna Maria Stevens
(d. 26June 1858 )
and Stafford Evan Stevens
(d.12 March1866 )

 

 

General note and observation with some reservation: At the time period, there were no whistle makers per se but rather brass founders iron mongers and Arm makers, Kitchen ware manufacturers Button makers and other goods, who made whistles as a “side line”, Today whistle collectors and scholars relate to some as Whistle Makers. This article here concentrates on the general Company History and whistles made or attributed to Stevens & Sons and less in many other aspects ( There are many details ) of the family Biography.
See my article about 19th century Whistle Makers.
It is also important to understand that as manufacturers and factory owners had rarely a shop of their own and were dependent on orders from retailers, contractors and companies, this explains that rarely an actual manufacturer name is stamped and many times a stamp of the retailers,
companies or inventor appears.

Stevens & Son, were one of the 3 great whistle makers up to 1860s.
And by the 1840’s were manufacturers of mostly Railway related goods:
The railway Times Magazine Vol. II 1839 Adv. by Stevens & Son
We can Learn about the diversity of products and projects Stevens & son were manufacturing in 1839 : GAS-ENGINEERS, OBELISK, Black Friars road :
Gas works for railways, manufactories, Cast Iron tanks, Liquer backs, Steam Boilers, cast main pipes for gas, steam or water, improved coke ovens, drying stores, and steam Kilns for grain constructed and erected in any part of England. Wrought- iron tubes and gas fittings of all kinds, brass and gun metal castings, Chemical apparatus, Experimental machinery, etc. etc. Plans & estimates for the above.
One may note which of the above relates to whistles.

From huge iron constructions to Railway Signals and smaller Scales, Hand Lamps and of cource whistles which were not mentenioned in advertisments. Below you can see part of a Scale made at Darlington works and a Hand Lamp made by Stevens in the 1840s .

Here is a historic whistle, heavy gun metal made of one rod and a screw mouthpiece, early whistle before size and weigh were reduced designed by Porteous and made by Stevens C. 1920s, 1830s. A previously unknown whistle found 2015 which employs the first known compound round Mouthpiece .
Part C has a lot more on this whistle and many more.

 

Continue reading Stevens & Sons History of the Whistle Maker & His Whistles Part A. A. Strauss

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

Intro

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

1820s
Dixon & Sons
Stevens & Son

1830’s
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 )

1850s
Linegar
(check Linegar & Son appear Before 1835, no identified whistles from that period)
Ward
Yates
W. Dowler & Sons
B. Lilly & son

1860s
Coney & Co
B. Lilly & Sons

1870s
Hudson
Barrall
Westwood
Auld
Hawksley
Smith & wright

1880s
De Courcy
Black & Co
McDonald
J.R. Gaunt

1890s
Burley
Walton


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 M. 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 & Andrews show up later some as Andrews were probably 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 M. Westwood The first Glasgow Whistle Maker & Samuel Auld Whistles Breaking News ! A. Strauss

Three Call Tube Whistle Patent 20, 820 By Burleigh , Discovered,  app. 1900 Grunted 1901. A. Strauss

Breaking News !!! A Victorian Three Call Tube Whistle Patent 20, 820 By Burleigh , Discovered  app. 1900 Grunted 1901 .  A. Strauss
An Intricate desgin including 3 Tube whistles, three different shapes Mouth Pieces, a round one a triangular one and a flat rectangular one.
One of the three tube whistle is a TNT  (Two note tube whistle )
The 3 tubes have variations  and can fold see Illusrations number III & Num. IV. Certainly was an expensive one to make at he time. 

Breaking News ! A Large Reward for Antique Whistle Finder info at AvnerStrauss.com
Antique Whistle Patent, A Strauss THREE CALL TUBE WHISTLE PATENT. Burleigh,Clapham Common , LONDON. 1900

A Reward is expecting the person who find us one of the actual triple whistles !

All rights reserved . A. Strauss 2017

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

History
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

American Penny Farthing Hi Wheel Bicycle Whistle

Antique 19th Century American Penny Farthing
Hi Wheel Bicycle Whistle
Antique Bicycle whistle  shaped as a pocket watch

The whistle is embossed with the image of a Hi wheel Penny Farthing Bicycle rider surrounded with a laurel wreath, and having two identical front and back sides.
It may had been made as a prize for the winner in some bike riding race competition,  made in the U.S.A c. 1870’s to early 80’s . It was found in New England and it the first and only one seen by the author so far.

The whistle has two notes ; F# and G# .  It has an interesting unique diaphragm and a smaller chamber at one side of the inside part to make the higher pitch.

Dimensions; 66mm by 45mm, by 10mm .

Article, Photos and content by Avner Strauss, all right reserved ,
no part of this webpage is to be used without the explicit permission of the owner.
Email : info@avnerstrauss.com All rights reserved 2017