Fire Brigade Whistles In British Catalogues. (19th Century)

A. Strauss

Merryweather & Sons Catalogue Model P – Handsomely Chased Gold Plated, Presentaion whistle. (See Model P Drawing & Price List c. 1880 Length 110 mm, Top 33 mm wide, Weigh 240 g !
This one is attributed to Joseph Hudson & Co. and has intricate 3 letter Initials on back. (To be uploaded)

Merryweather & Sons established 1692 and Shand Mason & Co. were two of the larger retailers of Fire Brigade accoutrements, whistles were just one of the products they retailed, they manufactured others, but our interest is in whistles.
I will bring some of their whistle pages from19th century catalogues.,
and share two very rare whistles identified by using the catalogs.
When I started writing I found many more Fire Brigade whistles
from these catalogues and I share some of mine and some from archive.

Continue reading Fire Brigade Whistles In British Catalogues. (19th Century)

Button Top Conical whistle Type by Dowler & Sons, Hiatt & Co. Ltd. Registered Design Number 225730 of January 19th, 1894 & Similar types by J. Hudson. A. Strauss

Staffordshire Constabulary Button Top Conical whistle type (TNC-Nick Named Beaufort)

(Under construction)
It is important to categorize and define accurate names for whistle types,
Mostly for more common ones, but when it comes to very rare ones it may be of less importance. (The type were previously referred to as Crest top).
The next few observations are about whistles that very few collectors own and lucky are the ones that have one, let alone few. Still they are gems to look at and study.

This newly found one which is very different from all others I had seen
turned my attention to these again*,
The whistle has few unusual features seen only with this one,
It has a great sound with about a whole step apart between the two notes,
Pitch is A & a slightly Flatt B) It measures 60.82 mm in length, the windows are larger then usual, so is the body, and the top bubble has a groove (AKA Crimp ring)
and it is a heavy cast one, As far as I can tell it was made by Dowler
(albeit that top may hint at a work by A. DeCourcy) .

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-2-1024x650.png
Richard Evans Policemen who served at the Devon Constabulary, which came with photos and documents, I shall bering again in a separate post in his honor.
Hiatt & Co Registered Design Number 225730 of January 19 1894,
(From The National Archives, Kew)
Hiatt and Co., Ltd.  26 and 27 Masshouse Lane, Birmingham

The Nick Harris Story & Whistle.

  • Tracking the history of whistles or a particular whistle is really like being a detective
    mentioning it to a friend, upon his request I pulled out what I had in my archive regarding this whistle. (A. Strauss)

Photo was taken from this website The Nick Harris School

Nick Harris Whistle beside the original box.
In 1906, Nicholas B. Harris, ( 1882-1943) an investigative reporter turned police detective founded Nick Harris Detectives. A year later the Nick Harris Academy opened bearing his name. Credited for solving many of the most baffling criminal cases at the turn-of-the-century, Mr. Harris, a legend in his own time was known for many peculiarities . “Official Police Whistle” marked Nick Harris on one side and official police whistle on the other. This would have been related to the Nick Harris radio show back in 1930-1940s, based on a real life character who was first a reporter, then a police officer, then a private investigator. In fact he founded a detective school in 1906 that is still operating .
Continue reading The Nick Harris Story & Whistle.

Masonic – Free Mason’s ceremonial whistle

A whistle a day
Large Extra HEAVY solid silver whistle , continental silver hallmark.

Length: 93 mm with masonic symbol. Probably German or French.
Octagonal tapered design, upper side is solid.
Probasbly of French oor Ge3rman origin, c 1880s t0 1910s .
It is all smooth, was clean when I got but it was blackened during the time I have it.

I tthe links you may see the History of Freemasonry in France

_Back view with silver hall mark stamp.

In the links you may see the History of Freemasonry in GERMANY

Antique whistle review

Deutsche Signal Instrumenten Fabrik

German Signal Instruments Manufacturer. A. Strauss

Trillerpfeifen, Early Escargot- Referee- Snail whistle with Long beak, & Tear drop shaped sound chamber, Late 19th Century, Early 20th Century.


When it comes to whistles, two major players, The British and the German whistle manufacturers went through important changes during the 19th century Industrial revolution, with new designs and means of manufacturing, I can Clearly see the reciprocal inspiration and parallel developments.
The Pfretzschner’s family (Musical Instruments makers) history goes back hundreds of years and the Brass instruments making started in 1750 in Markneuekirchen and area, The Firm itself was established in 1834 .
I visited there twice for research during the two last two decades,
It is enough to mention that in the 1870s about 70% of the world’s musical Instruments from China to America were produced there, to start and imagine the wealth of material, which is endless and an mine of info which can be studied there, when it comes to manufacturing Instruments including whistles of all types.

The Markneuekirchen Musical Instrument Museum Founded in the 19th Century is Highly recommended.

The large Church bell in the church Bell tower on the upper main Street
was scraped to make cannons in 1905.

Here I chose to concentrate on two types of important German whistles which actually follow the development early Glasgow & Birmingham 6 Piece escargot whistles into 3 Piece in Birmingham.
Dew to luck of examples and rarity of German whistles, It would be difficult to date.
The next 6 Piece German escargot is the single example I know of see three angles and note the ridge under the escargot’s ‘BEAK’ -which is what I call the mouthpiece.
The side shows the ‘tear drop’ sound chamber design with a patriotic 19 century coins chain.

Ridge under beak for under strengthening.

The next model to be developed was basically a 3 piece body + additional two components a two piece top (Plate & Ring Loop -) + a tooth grip made of heavy wire.
The Sound Chamber was similar a ‘tear drop’ shaped but it had a LONG ‘BEAK’ mouth piece.

The 4 Different variations left to right, are made differently.
Left is the latest with a single Ball top (Knop), and Nickel or Chrom plating,
The sound chamber is more rounded.
the 2nd seems to be iron, albeit it is a none magnetic hard metal,
The third is nickel plated brass with small loop ring.
The 4th is of the best quality German Silver ( AKA alpaca or Nickel Silver)
It is slightly larger and made with outmost care to details as well as having a larger
Sound Chamber & Beak. All are app. 80 mm long.

Continue reading Deutsche Signal Instrumenten Fabrik

J. Hudson Patent No. 435 of 1885 & The 5 parts ‘Metropolitan’ Tube Whistle.

J. Hudson & Co. Joseph Hudson Patent number 435 of 1885,

Photo of a Two Notes Tube Whistle – TNTW, Known to collectors as General service whistle, or Bobby whistle; Here taken apart for a clear view of the 5 various parts.
The Body, Mouthpiece and top loop ring, and the internal parts being the Partition,
and the stamped Diaphragm disc.
The patent was registered on January 13 of 1885, and designed somewhere in 1884
Patent Description:
Whistles, police and similar. The internal sheet-metal disc or diaphragm A crossing the barrel B is furnished with strengthening – fangs C which lie along the sides of the barrel, and is secured by soldering.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is J.-Hudson-Pat-435-January-13-1885-whistlemuseum-A-Strauss-1024x593.jpg

The patent for the diaphragm with the two tines-strengthening – fangs, came to solve the problem of weak diaphragm-disc in previous Hudson model (and other makers
as well which solved the problem in various ways), supplied to the Metropolitan Police in 1884, the previous diaphragm was loose and many came back to the factory to be fixed and refurbished, (whistle had to be taken apart in order to do so)
The Patent was valid for 14 years at that period, and the diaphragms using that patent were stamped, 1885 -1899, (Needs to be verified). *

The address stamp on this whistle 13 Barr Street Birmingham. is post 1894 -5 (Considered by many to be solely post 1888).

The whistle and drawing came from the great whistle scholar Martyn Gilchrist and he used it for the research of his book along with Simon Topmann:
Collecting Police Whistles and Similar Types. (1998) wow, that 25 years… The book was the ‘bible’ for Police whistle collectors for many years,
Chapter 8: Identifying Manufacturers & Dating Whistles Page 88 remains,
to this day, the best article available on whistle parts proving what a genius pioneering work was done by the writers.
The book and article are a must for whistle collectors, and those who wish to
know more about whistles of this type.
(Foot note)
*There is a lot more to write to discuss & learn, I will keep it short albeit it brings to mind many questions and some will remain unanswered since the further you dig the more the questions regarding the pre patent years, especially when one reads the great details on pages 6-12 in the book mentioned, regarding the “Metropolitan” police whistle, (Name registered as trademark in early 1884 ), showing it was on the 2nd of January that the order or of 7000 whistles was placed, more whistles supplied in April 1884 and numbering the whistles started July 1884.

P. S a suggestion when reading other posts here one should enlarge the screen for full view, then the side menu is not seen and and photos and texts are clearer.

Avner Strauss

Antique whistle review