GSW – J. Hudson & Co.

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

10 Replies to “GSW – J. Hudson & Co.”

  1. 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. 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?

  3. I have a whistle – common shape for the era – that has a 1-1/8″ loop attached to side – opposite printing – between and above the rectangular slots. Printing is as follows: J.HUDSON&Co
    13,BARR ST
    Is this a Marine piece? Is it rare? BIRMINGHAM
    Is it worth anything?

  4. I have one that says “J.HUDSON & CO BIRMINGHAM CNNA1981. Under that is an arrow symbol pointed away from the mouthpiece. Under the arrow symbol is 1952. The cylinder is painted black. There is nothing on the diaphragm.

  5. Hi, I have an (I) Indian Army Whistle just like yours Dated (1907) in very good condition and would like to know the value for my reference. Thanks, Mick

  6. I bought a whistle with EMILNS & co london brand.
    Anyone know anything about this article.
    Thank you

  7. Hello. Can you shed some light on the Hudson whistles, as to dates made, that are markded 193-7100 and also have the Broad Arrow mark? Thanks much!

  8. I believe I have a 1907-1909 Hudson whistle and was wondering what these whistles would be used for? Any help would be appreciated!

  9. Hello…….. I have a 13 Barr St, Please confirm the date of manufacturing year ..Details below

    The Metropolitan J.Hudson @ co.

    Anurag Dehariya

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