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.




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

James Dixon & Sons Other Rare Whistles, Models & Designs. Part.II.c. Avner Strauss

This is the last part about James Dixon & Sons Whistles and History
in 9 parts. (See links to all 9 parts at bottom).
I started the article with  Two Note Tube whistle (TNT) the one commonly identified with police whistles and invented by Porteous for Stevens & Sons,
It was only in 2006 that I discovered the first one.
There are two known examples of this whistle,
Here is a Drawing of model # 55 in Dixon’s catalogue of 1895. The whistle was made before that, and was described as a railway whistle.

Continue reading James Dixon & Sons Other Rare Whistles, Models & Designs. Part.II.c. Avner Strauss

Dixon & Sons Extractors – Cartridge Pullers, Shooting Gudgets with Dog Whistles, combination whistles & Other Dual Function Combination Whistles. II. b. A Strauss

Dixon & Sons Extractors & other combination whistles. A Strauss

Underconstruction 
A photo of 6 examples enlarged from the Sheffield City Collection;


Model #104R made late 1870s and later, Length; 75 mm Powder primer and picker combined with dog whistle.
Here is a drawing of this model #104N as appears in the 1882 catalogue
and in the Sheffield city collection.Model #220N from the same catalogue & period.
Model #220 as seen in the catalogue and actual one in closed position.
You may note that all this combination- shooting gudgets -multitools – with whistles, used round dog call whistles that were made as separate models before.Model #220N Powder primer with outside self-acting picker for gun nipples.

Model #220N as stamped on whistle was made late 1870’s early 1880s, shows in the 1882 catalogue.

Next; Moffatt’s Patent #11396 registered 1887. It included a spring blade which comes out between the two cartridge puller claws.

Continue reading Dixon & Sons Extractors – Cartridge Pullers, Shooting Gudgets with Dog Whistles, combination whistles & Other Dual Function Combination Whistles. II. b. 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

James Dixon & Sons Round Brass & German Silver Round Whistles (Part I.d.) A. Strauss

James Dixon & Sons Round Brass & German Silver Round Whistles (Part I.d.)
A. Strauss

After the First Early period 1800 to 1835 and later up to 1865 which was reviewed here with early examples I  move forward to look at some more German Nickel or Nickel Silver & Brass whistles, not it in chronological order.
Cracking the general early date code of whistles in the article about Stevens & Sons was a Benchmark, which enabled a clearer view of another giant whistle maker – Dixon & Sons. At the top a whistle which had been made by James Dixon the founder himself. (See next Paragraph).

Continue reading James Dixon & Sons Round Brass & German Silver Round Whistles (Part I.d.) A. Strauss

James Dixon & Sons Part I. a. Round Whistles. 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’

Continue reading James Dixon & Sons Part I. a. Round Whistles. A.Strauss

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

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 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 ) & 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