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antique whistle research into whistology

it is interesting to whistle students that details become more focused as collections grow and comparisons can be made finally.

Take for example the lowly TOOTHGRIP – not something aften discussed or thought about for sure…..

We remember that a selling point for Metrpolotan Police whistles at first, was supposed to be that beauforts  in general had no toothgrip for keeping the hands free, so they replaced them with a model that did. ( Of course Barrall, Hudson, DeCourcy all manufactured beauforts for many years after the Metro that DID have toothgrips didn't they ?? )

On the other hand virtually ALL round whistles that were used for police, railway, fire brigade, prisons, and military purposes have never had toothgrips !!!!

What about escargots ??


metropolitan police whistles

MORE ?? MORE reasons to collect those Metropolitan Police Whistles ??

OK how about this ???

RARITY !!!!!

Yah, finding those obscure forces that desovled or got gobbled up by other forces ( consolidated ?? )

Now it is REALLY getting interesting huh ??

Shires, burghs, counties, cities,constabularies — oh it is just too delightful !!!!! Makes me almost want to specialize. But no, toooooo confining.

Understandable though the romantic attachment to Metros.

Gotta love those cast parts too. The old stamping methods. The history to track down and sometimes even provenance.

In fact there is no end in sight and that is probably part of the addiction.

Where does one then draw the line ??


metropolitan police whistles

Clearly the front runner for researching on line, buying and selling, is the Metropolitan Police whistle.

Why do we say that ???

More research is done on the internet for Metropolitan police whistles than for any other subject of whistles !! — Why is that ???

Shear numbers ?? … Maybe…..Shear collectors ?????? …..Maaaaaaaaybe Shear sellers ??? —– probably !!!

But to sell so many, there have to be collectors right ??? Are there ??

What's all the buzz ???

Hmmmmm, that is the question isn't it ???

Something to ponder a bit……..

how to research your whistles

So let’s pick up the application of researching tube shaped whistles so that we can now apply lessons learned to ROUND whistles.

Round whistles differ in parts in that they have a fipple ( new term I know )
Usually no partition or disc — but not always, some actually DO !!!

But hey, now you know what we are talking about huh ??

What was the first thing to do when you get your new ( old ) whistle ?? Same thing with a round whistle ….

CLEAN it out

Take pics

Measure the length

Check out the top knop and plate

Measure the body, look at the stamp.

Here is one overlooked —– does it unscrew into two parts ???????????

AND also overlooked ————–take special notice of the shape of the window(s)

The next is a little harder — really examine the fipple — record, record, record…..
…..the shape inside the whistle, the curvature of the underneath – how much arch…. length of the fipple, side pins….

Type of metal ?? similar whistles you already have ??? Look for a manufacturer or even a supplier stamp ( remember those lists that Gilchrist and Topman built in CPWs ??

Break down your round whistles in the same manner as your tube shaped whistles.

next ?????

how old is an antique or collectable whistle ?

How old does a whistle have to be to collect ?? How far back to go ?? Gotta have sooooooome integrity right ?? After all I am an ANTIQUE whistle collector…..

I can tell you from my point of view that I draw the line at 1900. I don't collect anything after that date for sure. Tooooooooo new for me.

However, I did collect a few American B&R circa 1910……. in fact  quite a few…

I must admit that those Chiefs from 1914 have snuck in also —  from the states….

Can't say why, but those French rounds that H. Nicholaus distributed are accumulating circa 1920 – 1930

But that is IT, no others. Definitletly — definitely drawing the line at 1930…. for sure. Gotta stay firm and strong. No waffling — I have a reputation to maintain…..

Well, except some German whistles clear up to WW11…………… I hate to admit.

Oh, and those pesky Mauser bullet whistles from Germany, The UK, and Argentina…

And who can resist Pringle escargots from the 50s ?? I can't…..

Now I am into Frankforts circa 1950s……………….absolutely as far as I am going.

……………………..So much for integrity……..ratz………

Identifying whistles old and rare still..

got to thinking, time to pause…………… whew, that feels good….


Now let's hold for a second and regroup. What kind of whistles are we talking about ?? —— TUBE shaped !!! You know Metropolitans, GSWs, TUUUUUBE shaped.

Yah, they are the long straight ones that can be 'cracked open like a book' and fugured out – who made them, when , rarity etc.

The round whistles are harder. The beauforts are also hard. The dual tubes, the escargots, the varietal…the list goes on and on doesn't it ??

So why all the talk about tube shaped whistles like they are the only whistles worth unraveling ?? Why put so much emphasis on these type whistles ??

Good question for tomorrow… Good question though… we all need reassurance, so good question…..

Identifying whistles old and rare still..

But you say I can only squint so much !!!! Yup, you are right, so a magnifying glass is next ( still on eyes though )

Then light is critical. And not just ANY light, but skinny light. You know, for hard to see places — like INSIDE those whistles.

You know what I REALLY want to get ?? A fiberoptic camera to go to my computer so I can probe inside those whistles and watch on the screeeeeeen yeah !!!!

Oh well, in the mean time ?? Pen light, mag and squinting.


What have we discussed so far ?? Have to measure those whistles carefully and look inside them. Gotta have light and records lest we forget….

store everything into your toolbox huh ??

more ???? Yup…..

Identifying whistles old and rare

tool number one for great detectives ??

Your eyes —

Gotta learn to see well if you are crack the case of who made your whislte.

For example:

How long is the whistle in question ??

Exactly ?? Really ?? Does it matter ???

OK your are already fired !!! Pack your bags, never to return…

Sorry, lost focus there. Yes of course it matters. DETAILS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So back to the length — needs to be down to the millimeter !!!

Makers stick to what works. So also with different models. Gotta look closely at the lenght, the width, how thick the metal is….really gotta use your eyes a LOT.

We'll get back to this….

ID that antique whistle

Yeah it may be that identifying a whistle is more guessing than detective work. Maybe BOTH. Like a friend once said ' many times my hunches turned out correct' ( or somethining like that anyway )

The point being —  it is chipping away at these problem whistles with cluuuuuuuues. ( clues ) that unlocks the secrets.

Let's consider some clues together and see what we can pile up into your arsenal of tools.

In other words make a tool box !!!

So, first thing you need is a tool box itself — what might that be ??

Well gotta kick around this idea around for a day or so… hmmmm….

Whistle clues

The tricky thing about distributer stamps is that they look so official and all. You know, like they were MADE by them.

Say for example you have a beaufort – Kelley and Sons stamped clearly on the front and then above that Liverpool Police

Clearly a whistle made by Kelley and Sons !! NOT !!! As one gains experience and sees a lot of whistles, one personally catches the name as a distributor, or Googles it or…..

Looks in the back of CPWs at the fantastic list that was compiled by Martin Gilchrist and Simon Topman. Then you spot it was supplied by Hudson Company.

Can’t be tooooo quick though….

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