Whistle factory tour for Lichfield Science & Engineering Society members

The Acme Whistles factory

The Acme Whistles factory

Members of Lichfield Science & Engineering Society have enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of a historic Birmingham factory.

Around 40 members visited the Acme Whistles factory, originally opened by Joseph Hudson – the man who won the 1883 competition to replace and update the Metropolitan Police rattle.  Since then, it is claimed, every whistle made in the world can be traced to the principles of Joseph’s designs. 

Now with some 85 products sold all around the world, Acme Whistles employs 50 people in their listed building at 244 Barr Street, making not only whistles for a multitude of purposes (to date, 200 million of the Thunderer” modelalone) but also bird calls, sound effect devices and the famous clicker used in the D-Day landings.

Lichfield Science & Engineering Society Brian Hammond said:

“Managing Director Simon Topman gave a fascinating and highly entertaining talk on the history of his company and whistle technology. Simon kept us amused and involved for the whole morning with the stories of the bomb which went down the lift shaft in 1940 and blew, not only a batch of part-finished whistles into the street, but holes in a steel girder.

“He also spoke of the ghost of Joseph Hudson who can still be heard walking the building and moving boxes to hide while he consumed his crafty drink.”

The Society’s members saw the traditional area of the press shop as well as discovering how research and development is continuing and allowing today’s whistles to be produced by modern methods.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.