GSW – J. Hudson & Co. 4

Joseph Hudson & Co were by far the largest and most successful of whistle manufacturers. In fact they are still going strong and based in Birmingham where they now trade under the name “Acme Whistles”. They subtly changed the design of their whistles quite frequently and so they can often be dated quite accurately and quickly.

Hudsons moved address quite frequently at the beginning so the address stamped on the whistle gives the main clue:

  • 84 Buckingham Street : 1883-1884
  • 131 Barr Street : 1885-1888
  • 13 Barr Street : 1888-1909
  • 244 Barr Street : 1909-now

The next easiest thing to look for is engraved text on the top of the cap:

  • no text (commonest) : 1923 to now
  • PATENT 5727-08 (rarely just PATENT 5708) : 1908-1922
  • HUDSON’S PATENT 5727-08 : 1908-1909
  • PATENT APP FOR MAY 08 : 1908
  • a stepped cap means late 1930s to 1940s
  • a pillar cap usually indicates a Boy Scouts or Girl Guide’s whistle – if it has 2 rings around it then that means 1909-1930

Next have a look at the loop on the cap:

  • single-piece cap with deeply concave sides:
  • 2-piece cap with slightly concave sides:
    • small v shape at the base : 1908-early 1920s
    • no v at the base : early 1920s-1938
  • 2-piece cap with flat sides:
    • hole round:
      • thick loop : 1939-1972
      • thin loop:
        • if “The Metropolitan” then likely 1972-now
        • otherwise it means a cheap-quality whistle from 1920s onwards – often ACME or EMCA branded
    • hole D-shaped:
      • thick loop : 1961-1972
      • thin loop: 1972-now

If you have a magnifying glass then look into the windows and check the half-moon-shaped flat plate inside, near the mouthpiece – called the ‘diaphragm’. It sometimes has writing stamped on it and, if you check along the edge of the window you might see ‘tines’ – 1cm long tabs that fix the diaphragm in the tube:

  • No tines & no writing : 1883-1884
  • diaphragm marked J Hudson & Co Patent:
    • tines point towards the mouth : 1885-1899
    • tines pointing away from the mouth : 1898-1907 (approx)
  • diaphragm unmarked:
    • no pip on the side of the diaphragm : c1907-1939
    • pip on the edge of the diaphragm:
      • tines parallel sided : 1939-197os
      • tines cut in slightly at the base : 1970s-now

[These identification tips have been adapted from Martyn Gilchrist’s book “More Whistles”]

They registered many patents applying to GSWs including:

  • 1898-9499 for a design of diaphragm with tines
  • 1907-01112 for a design of GSW with a folding knife blade
  • 1908-5727 for a design of 2-piece cap (this is the patent stamped on the cap of whistles from 1908-1922)
  • 1911-28999 for a rolled metal mouthpiece

4 thoughts on “GSW – J. Hudson & Co.

  1. Reply michael hanmore Feb 20,2014 12:15 am

    hi. I have a Metropolitan double ended whistle. J. Hudson & Co. 13 Barr Street Birmingham / Patent. I have tried to research this and have been unable to find one. Please could you help me to solve my mystery. Kind regards

  2. Reply John Psarakis Oct 23,2015 3:57 am

    I believe this to be a torpedo boat whistle

  3. Reply Craig S Dec 4,2015 10:21 pm

    Hi, I have a Metropolitan whistle, 13 Barr St, but the word “patent” is stamped below Birmingham and not below Metropolitan as shown on the examples photographed.
    Can you offer any further information?

  4. Reply len Oct 15,2016 10:54 pm

    patents and their dates are important to learn. They modify the address dates and help you date even more accurately. For example:
    patent 435 for the inside disc and tines was used at the 131 Barr street
    patent 19700 for a changed disc and tines (reversed direction) at 13 Barr street
    knowing these two helps a lot.
    Even knowing patent 553 for 1909 rounds with a modified mouthpiece can help on the round attachment to the GSW mentioned above.
    The double ended were used for general service and fire brigade suppliers. Little has been found for the navy supporting the catalog advertisement.

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