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 Stradivariusmade his violins in the 17th & 18th Cent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’
Charles Parker B. 27 Februar 1800 – D. 1852 was a maker of professional whistles in the first half of the 19th Century in Birmingham. He was known as Charles Parker Junior and the son of Charles Parker who was in the same business as Button Maker, Brass Founder and Military Ornament Maker. His BOT receipt pre 1850 reads; Bot of CHARLES PARKER Late Merry Parker & Merry Manufacturer of Naval and Military Ornaments Gilt & Plated Buttons INVENTOR of the IMPROVED LETTER CLIP AND RAILWAY WHISTLE.
The 3 next Short SNC – short single note conical whistles were a Parker Design The one on the right side is Parker’s work William Dowler( & Sons) Kept making these up to later 1890s,