SPOTLIGHT special edition focuses on a monotypical escargot by Peter McDonald. Although likely a production whistle it is at this time monotypical and the only known example of a second model from him. On page 29 of More Whistles Gilchrist states in the body of the text next to a McDonald 6 piece 1890 escargot picture, that “only one model of escargot made by Peter McDonald is known, it is possible others exist.” Here is a 5 piece escargot that would be a post 1890 design that surfaced and is presented here for the record books. You will note Peter’s knop, very heavy and unusual for a 5 piece escargot. This would usually be seen on a heavier 6 piece escargot.
This has an oversized window not seen on his 6 piece escargots. It appears to be a larger size model as we will see shortly. In fact, in the following picture compare the window, the knop, the writing and size to a 6 piece McDonald escargot from 1889-90. It is true that there was a patent applied for, shared with Ward that later abandoned because Samuel Auld beat them to the patent office by two months for the six piece model. However it appears that Peter McDonald continued for, at least a short period, to manufacture whistles — albeit on a limited basis.
The stamp matches perfectly. One change is to note the rounded front of the mouthpiece is now squared off. We have two 6 piece escargots here at the reference collection and both have rounded edges, but the 5 piece is squared off. More typical of the body in 5 piece escargots is his model with a single piece that makes up the body and mouthpiece base as follows…
Now compare his 6 piece and his 5 piece together… We see the under strengthening has been removed and now the barrel is all one piece. No more of the labor intensive extra pieces. This also made the whistle lighter and came rather quickly after the first design. It appears the heavy six piece whistles only lasted only a few years. The top piece to the mouthpiece still is attached on top and could still come loose in time. So this too would be modified by Hudson 1891.
And next compare his 5 piece and another 5 piece by Black and company, a contemporary manufacturer of his day. You can see that his is larger in both pictures. The McDonald is on the left and the Black is on the right. But the innovation of the one piece barrel is clearly a better design. It rolls around and bends flat.
We even laid the Black on top of the McDonald to get a better comparison. Peter’s is a strongly built whistle especially for a ‘ lighter ‘ whistle, —compared to a 6 piece anyway. This was at the same time that Hudson designed its own three piece escargot whistle that would emerge as the front runner. It was on the smaller side and still a little heavy, but it would be the direction that escargots would go in the future. In the process Hudson was spelling out the demise of 4, 5, and 6 piece escargots.
So we conclude with a second model by Peter McDonald and looking forward to more.
Posted September 23, 2013