William Dowler & Sons Whistle Manufacturer History and Timeline A. Strauss

Part III a (See Part I & II William & George Dowler

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.

1862 Listings of Railway whistle makers

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 B.1813 D. 1888

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 Guide to dating Dowler Whistles by Stamps.

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.

1886 – 1900

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

4th Period 1900-1904

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
in opposing 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)

Ellipse shape stamp 5th period 1904 -5 to 1911 Dowler & Sons Ltd (No Wm)

This period whistles are stamped Dowler & Sons Ltd.
Most of the whistles are manufactured by A. 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’.

6th period ‘Wm Dowler, Wm only on whistles made by Hudson.
Left; J. Hudson & Co. 6th Period, always with Wm. and stamp facing windows.
Right; De Courcy two stamp combi for Dowler

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)

W. Dowler & Sons Timeline A Strauss
Dowler & Sons Various types of Conical Whistles, TNC, and SNC.


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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is W-Dowler-Sons-3rd-Period-MilitaryTNC-Two-Notes-Conical-whistle-additional-stamps-whistle-museum.jpg
1898 Military, unique stamp; W. Dowler & Sons


2) TNTTwo 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.

Stevens & Son Pre 1865 and William Dowler TNT whistle tops for comparison.

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).

Foot notes

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.

Best wishes , Avner Strauss.

All rights Reserved Avner Strauss 2000.




Georgian Period Whistles, Cast Iron Whistles. A. Strauss

Georgian Period Whistles, British made whistles in the Pre Victorian times were a theme I was interested in for over a decade, New antique whistles surface here and there and throw light on the development of ‘Professional’ Round whistles, time line and makers, of which little is known about. *
But these certainly give a new perspective to the term IRONMONGERS in the 17th 18th 19th century who were making whistles, and which later became more Brass Founders I believe.
Before I put many of the thoughts, comments & observations on these,
I share some of mine and others, Needless to say all very rare.
Starting with a Trio of Military whistles from my own collection,
most possibly by J. Dixon of Sheffield very early 1800, These include few amazing features for the whistle student and scholars who have a keen eye.
The sound  is of each one is outstanding, (I am tempted to say the best I heard ) Interestingly the trio forms the sound of a triad chord,
I will edit and add comments  later.(There is a LOT to be said and learn)

_

 


=
Continue reading Georgian Period Whistles, Cast Iron Whistles. A. Strauss

Acme Whistles Registered 1911. Emblem Snail Whistles & Variations. Avner Strauss

Acme Whistles Registered 1911 Emblem Snail Whistles & Variations, Button Style with Embossed emblem Sides.

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.

Acme Whistles History

 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.
The Shamrock
Reg. design #578510 Model # 616
The Thistle
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)

THE CAPS

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 STAMPS 

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 – info@avnerstrauss.com

Antique Whistles Ancien Sifflets Museum Appeaux, Appeau Merle

Continue reading Acme Whistles Registered 1911. Emblem Snail Whistles & Variations. Avner Strauss

Samuel Auld The Greatest Glasgow Whistle Maker. A. Strauss

Samuel Auld started making whistles in the earlier part of the 1870s, after Joining Westwood (See another article about a previously unknown maker J. Westwood which I found)  Auld partnership with Westwood at Globe Brass foundry  248 Gallowgate st. (Both were the sole partners dissolved on July 20 1877 and announced legally 31 October 1877.

Samuel Auld Glasgow 19th Century Double Snail Whistle, Whistle Museum

In 1877 Auld started his own Company on the same street (no. 240 later he would own and work from both 240 and 248) by 1878 he was listed as a well known Continue reading Samuel Auld The Greatest Glasgow Whistle Maker. A. Strauss

The First Known Dated Metropolitan Police Whistle 1821

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.

Dear Avner

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
.

1821 Whale Bone Pea Whistle early pre Metropolitan Bobbie whistle, whistle museum archive

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.

Cheers
John

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.
Contact: info@avnerstrauss.com

Trillerpfeifen, Signalpfeifen, Tonpfeifen Museum

Police Button Whistles, 19th Century Police Button Whistles. A. Strauss

 Police Button Whistles from the Victorian area. A.Strauss

The next police whistles include the majority of known Police Button whistles which were found, some are not included either because of poor condition or since I did not keep Pictures of. Now as I start to carefully compare button whistle construction and button makers I am making progress in identifying makers, after years of research soon to be more.

Dewsbury Button police whistle
Continue reading Police Button Whistles, 19th Century Police Button Whistles. 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

Dixon & Sons Animal Head Whistles. Part I. c. A. Strauss

Dixon & Sons Animal Head whistles. Part I. c. A. Strauss

This is part of a very long article to come, Here you can see the First part.
to Part I.a Round Whistles 

James Dixon & Sons Dog Whistles, Dog’s Head whistles Models #17, # 16, #29 From his 1883 catalogue.

Dixon started making Animal head whistles c. 1850, by 1883 there were at least
6 Dog’s head models and 5 Boar’s head whistles.
All appeared in Catalogues as Dog Calls.

Dog’s Head Whistles

Pointer’s head whistle was made in 4 materials :
Ivory,
Bone &
Britannia metal
Pressed Metal

The fipple was called TONGUE and made of Ebony wood, Glass eyes were used. 
Ivory Dog whistle Dated 1853 (Courtesy of whistlecollection)

Price List & Drawings animal head whistles, Used Dog Calls, taken from J. Dixon & Sons 1883 Catalogue.


 Above Model #16S. Model #16S in Ivory, Small size, under 2 inch

Model #16 Ivory Middle size.

A Dated Example, Dec. 24 1864 Model #17
Large size with Ebony tongue-fipple.
Model #19 was the same as #17 but made in Bone
Both large size and Window up.We have no record of a model #18.

It may well be that by 1883 they stopped the production of  model #18
which I believe was the same as model #17 but in BRITANNIA METAL.
( Pewter & Britannia Metal Dog head whistles are the more commonly met with, and were made in England & Germany. T. Yates made many variations and it seems very likely that Dixon & Sons made these as well, but it is a subject I still have to carefully check in order to make a definitive conclusion. Note that there are Britannia metal models mentioned in the catalogue excerpt which had not yet surfaced or identified, If you suspect you do have one, kindly send a photo)

Dixon & Sons, Model #17 Large, Ivory Ebony Tongue and glass eyes.

4  Dog head models had window down
Model # 16S very small in Ivory
#16 Ivory window down Middle size.

Model #29 was made in pressed horn, Window down
angled body.

#30 was the same as #29 but in Britannia Metal.
An actual example of #30 was not yet seen by the author.

Boar’s  Head Whistles
All 5 Models with window downward.

Dixon & Sons Whistle Model #24, Pressed Horn.

Boar’s head whistles were used in 5 models,
pressed horn (M#24)
Pressed Horn with White eyes (#25).

Three Models of the Boar’s head were made in Britannia metal with ebony tongue, 3 sizes small, middle, & large (#26, #27, #28).
No actual example of the Britannia metal ones has yet surfaced.

Full article in 9 sub-parts and links;

James Dixon & Sons Whistles & History In the 19th Century. A. Strauss
The full article is in 9 sub-parts. 
Part I (6 chapters)

1) Brief History and data (19th Century)

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,   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. 

Article, Photos and content by Avner Strauss, all rights reserved ,
no part of this webpage is to be used without the explicit permission of the owner. Email : info@avnerstrauss.com
Comments & question are welcom.
Whistle museum.


 

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

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