Acme whistles History

Posted by Eric Azumi on

Joseph Hudson a farm worker from Derbyshire who moved to the city of Birmingham, like so many during the Industrial Revolution, and trained as a toolmaker.

He converted the wash house at the side of his end of terrace "back to back" home in St Marks Street into a workshop where he made many things to help increase his family's income. His early products were snuff boxes, cork screws and whistles.

His whistle business was very small until in 1883 The London Metropolitan Police advertised for an idea to replace the policeman's rattle a cumbersome means of communication for the bobby on his "beat" (the name given to his patrol).

Joseph Hudson invented a novel whistle for the purpose. It could be held in the mouth leaving the hands free a clear advantage over the rattle. Joseph Hudson's dilemma was in finding a distinctive and far carrying sound. Pondering on this problem as he played his violin he failed to place his instrument down firmly on the table when he had finished playing and it fell to the ground and broke.

He noticed what a jarring and discordant sound it made as it broke and sensed that this was the type of sound he needed for his new whistle.

The police tested his whistle on Clapham Common and were delighted when it was clearly heard just over a mile (1.6Km) distance.

Over the next 135 years Acme developed and patented over 40 different whistle designs.

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