If you want a whistle made in the United States, Columbus, Ohio is the place to find it. The American Whistle Corporation is the only factory in the US that makes brass whistles. Everything that goes into the making of the whistle is made in the US. It’s one place where people can really whistle as they work.
No one is certain how the whistle began but evidence of whistles carved out of bones, gourds, or branches have been around since the early humans. In prehistoric Egypt, small shells were used as whistles. The first recorded use of a whistle by a referee was in 1878 at an English Football Association soccer contest between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield.
While sports teams seem an obvious place for their whistles, there are many others that use whistles frequently. These include lifeguards, hikers, hunters, teachers, and police. The piercing sound of a whistle is louder than a yell and carries much farther.
These quality American Whistles have been on the scene since 1956 when the company was Colsoff Manufacturing, and are used as safety tools for young and old alike. Brass, which is used in many musical instruments, is chosen for its resonance plus it never rusts. Some of these whistles with a particular decibel rating can be heard for over a mile.
In 2018, the present owners purchased the Whistle Factory and are making many additions that complement the brass whistle. Their line of whistle accessories includes lanyards in many different colors. They are also the only United States manufacturer of a rubber mouth protector, Safe-T-Tips, to guard the teeth and lips against damage as well as cold temperatures.
The process for making a whistle begins with coiled brass, 30–ton presses, state-of-the-art soldering tables, and continues on through polishing, specialized plating processes, and finally, putting a synthetic cork ball inside the whistle! One coil of brass produces 5,000 whistles. A special machine smooths, polishes, and cleans the whistle of everything until it is perfectly free of any burrs. As clean as a whistle!
They will even place a logo on the whistle to give it a personal and professional touch. There are a variety of finishes to the brass whistles. While most are nickel-plated, many are finished with brass, bronze, and even 24-karat gold.
Experienced hands-on workers using high-tech procedures make over a million whistles a year. One of their largest orders goes to the New York City Police Department. They also proudly make the whistles in 24-karat gold for the Super Bowl referees each year with proper logos applied.
The most expensive whistle they ever made was for the retirement of a man who had been grand marshal of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade for many years. That whistle ended up costing over $500.
During the recent pandemic, business was slow since most of their products are made for the sports world where games were being canceled. At that point, they decided they would make an additional whistle, a Personal Safety Whistle, which might be of assistance to those staying at home. This is a durable plastic whistle designed to support the needs of individuals and families and alert others to signs of distress. No batteries required.
Plastic whistles are made in two pieces. Then after the ball is inserted into the whistle, they are placed in a machine where high-frequency sound waves actually melt the two pieces together.
If you would like to see how these whistles are made, take a 45-minute guided tour of the factory at 6540 Huntley Road, Columbus. You will hear fascinating information about whistles and their origin. Watch as whistles are being made on some very high-tech machines as well as some of those original machines used from their beginning.
Tours must be scheduled in advance with at least sixteen people in the group. However, if you wish to tour without a group, call to see when they can add you to a group already scheduled. They are very flexible!
This is a tour everyone from preschoolers to seniors will enjoy. They adapt the tour to the age group that is visiting. Everyone leaves with an “American Classic” whistle!
Their sign on the wall says it all!
American Whistle Corporation
The Best Whistles in the USA
American Whistle Corporation can be found at 6540 Huntley Road, Columbus, Ohio in the northwestern section of Columbus. Be sure to call ahead to make reservations at 614-846-2918.