Out of Belfast, the largest city in Ireland and the capitol comes an unusual 6 piece escargot. Some of its characteristics are as follows:
It is dedicated to P. McKenzie of Glasgow, dated 1909 and done so by engraved lettering on the front top. The maker is under the mouthpiece and is T. Sharples from Belfast, written in cursive or script writing.
All of the writing front, sides and back is engraved, as well as the thistle and three leafed clover on the sides of the barrel. Quite a bit of work went into this whistle and if another surfaces ( see addendum ) it would be well worth it to get it. It is a wonderfully well-made whistle with a very strong, hollow sound. It does have a cork ‘pea’.
Let’s look closer now,
A quick search of the internet brings up little as far as McKenzie being a distributor or supplier of some sorts. Nothing comes up for T. Sharples either. So this whistle will have to stand the test of scrutiny and be able to hold its head up on its own merit.
What strikes one first and foremost is the color of the metal. It is brass of course, but leans towards what is called ‘red brass’ and carries that hue in its manufacture. We call it a 6 piece whistle, but it is built like a five piece in the London style. However the ring is so unusual that we are calling it the 6th piece.
It is a very lightweight whistle, lighter than the 5 piece predecessors just 15 to 20 years earlier. Its craftsmanship is excellent.
Look at the top of the mouthpiece. It attaches from the bottom of the window edge all the way up to the top of the window edge. Only about ¼ inch, but a lot in the whistle world. This really advances the art of construction. Then let’s move into those barrel sides….
We read on the left – NEMO ME IMPUNE …. LACESSIT (No one attacks me with impunity) which is Latin.
Apparently this is taken from the order of the thistles. With a thistle engraved.
And on the right picture – NOLI ME …. TANGERE ( touch me not ) With a three leaf clover engraved.
Fairly confrontational. Then look at the top ring which says GOOD LUCK.
The sides are carefully rounded and is almost unique in making escargots ( Barrall escargots also utilized it ). Commonly we see rounded sides when it comes to button whistles, but a straight up escargot maker rarely would take this type or care and crafting that it would take to create this look. Each piece is fit together perfectly.
Now moving on there is all that scroll work front back and sides. Very nice to see and one wonders why it wasn’t used more often among other whistle makers. Of course silver craftsmen took it further, but unusual in a brass production whistle.
Rewardingly, when we stop to look at the top we aren’t disappointed at all. The top knop is a wide loop that is very heavy and wide. It attaches to a ring that is permanent and also thought out. It is flattened and engraved also.
We finish out in a close up of the makers name and can only hope to find more whistles ( see below ) by this interesting designer. Perhaps different models.
In regrouping….. materials, construction and engravings has left us with a small masterpiece for our records and to hunt for others.
******see addendum below
Posted September 28, 2015
Addendum: Posted February 22, 2015
sent in by a family that had their own Sharples is an unseen variation. Many thanks. Now we know that this manufacturer made whistles in production. Great to hear and now look for. Beyond that the dates range at least from 1905 to 1909.