A Round Pea Whistle, dating c. 18th century to early 19th century,
An outstanding example of a design using various geometrical elements
forming a uniquely sculpted design.
From the country were Stradivarius made his violins in the 17th & 18th Cent.
Materials: Gun Metal (a type of bronze – an alloy of copper, tin, and zinc )
& painted extra hard wood.
L: 69 mm Continue reading A Military Round Pea Whistle 18th to Early 19th Century Design Masterpiece. 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
PART I.a. Underconstruction
ROUND & ROUND PEA WHISTLES
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;
Early – 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’
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
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.
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 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.
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
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, as wellas the next one.
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 a 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