You know how to whistle don’t you? ACME do. The world’s first and finest whistles.
The name ACME might conjure images from up your childhood. Of Wilde Coyote trying to catch Road Runner with sticks of dynamite, bird seed or even earthquake pills manufactured by ACME. But in fact, the name first appeared courtesy of Joseph Hudson in 1870. A toolmaker from Birmingham who learnt his craft from the age of 12. Toiling by hand to create that unmistakable sound we all know today. The ACME Whistle Co has been at the cutting edge of whistle manufacturing ever since. Inventing and patenting new products constantly. There have been so many firsts to come out of Barr Street in the Jewellery District of Birmingham. Which we won’t be able to do them all justice in this introduction.
Joseph Hudson created the first whistle used in football in the 1870’s. At the time referees used handkerchiefs to signal a foul or an infringement. Obviously unless you were watching the ref and not the ball, you would have no idea that the game had stopped. Joseph saw that the whistle would be a solution. He offered one of his early incarnations to the local team; Aston Villa politely refused the new whistle. Nottingham Forest though saw its benefits and its account books of 1872 record that they bought an ‘Umpires Whistle’. Where it is said that they first used it in a game against Sheffield Norfolk. (although the dates are disputed).
But in 1884 Joseph did in fact create the firsts sport whistle, ‘The Thunderer’. In 1966, that ‘They think it’s all over’ moment was signalled on an ACME by Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst. It now resides in the football museum in Switzerland.
Going back a year to 1883. The Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard required a new method to signal over long distances because the rattles they were using were, well, pretty useless. Hudson a keen violinist accidentally dropped his violin and the trill sound a string made when it broke gave him the idea to put a pea into a whistle. The new whistle could be heard a mile away and was adopted by most police forces.
In 1912 ACME were commissioned to manufacture the whistles for the fateful Titanic. And incidentally Kate Winslet blows one in the film of the same name. They invented the silent dog whistle in 1935. Also the first waterproof life-saving whistle in 1949.
ACME was also conscripted into the D-Day landings on the 5th and 6th June 1944. Their ‘Clicker’ or ‘Cricket’ was used in the dark of night to alert other soldiers that they were around and not the enemy. This isn’t a whistle but a time signature device used by big bands of the time. Unfortunately, the story goes that after the first night the German infantry had cottoned onto to this noise and worked out that by cocking their rifles they could replicate the clicker’s sound. And so, the clicker had to be de-commissioned for fear of ambush.
In more modern times The Tornedo 2000 was invented for the modern sports stadia, specifically the Ajax Arena. which at the time was reputed to be the loudest stadium in the world and the 2012 London Olympics.
ACME whistles have been used far and wide. From The Beach Boys on the Brian Wilson penned Heroes and Villians to the New York Philharmonic during a recital of Haydn’s Toy Symphony.
Although a modern company and utilising modern techniques, craftsmanship is still a huge part of ACME’s philosophy. Using the finest raw materials and the most skilled British crafts people, trained to create products that no other manufacturer globally can compete with. That is why they are the official supplier to FIFA, NHL, The Coast Guard and still The Metropolitan Police Force after an astonishing 135 years.
British design and manufacturing in perfect harmony. An eye for detail and an ear for perfect pitch. The world’s finest whistles bar none from Barr Street.
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Metropolitan Police WhistleAcme Whistles
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Nickel Plated Titanic WhistleAcme Whistles
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Polished Brass Titanic WhistleAcme Whistles
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Polished Brass ClickerAcme Whistles
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Sterling Silver Whistle NecklaceAcme Whistles
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