The Story Behind the Dog Whistles

Whistles have been in use since early humans first discovered they could create sound by carving out bones or wood. In ancient Egypt, small shells were fashioned into whistles, serving as primitive musical instruments. These early whistles have served as inspiration for many modern wind instruments.

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, whistles underwent further development. One notable manufacturer during this period was James Dixon & Sons, founded in 1806 in Sheffield, Britain. Renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship, the company produced a wide range of items, including kitchenware, sporting trophies, shooting accessories, and powder flasks. Whistles were also among their distinguished products.
Antique Silver Dog Whistle

Victorian era silver dog whistle found at the Antique Jewelry Company

 Inspired by the beauty and uniqueness of Victorian-era silver dog whistles, I felt compelled to create my own collection. I believed these whistles could serve not only as functional tools but also as stylish accessories for both men and women. The idea of functional jewelry fascinated me.

Although Victorian-era silver dog whistles were not originally intended as accessories, resourceful women of that era found a way to incorporate them into their fashion choices. They would attach these whistles to their chatelaines, decorative belt hooks or clasps worn at the waist, which held a series of chains with hooks for hanging small articles such as watches, keys, seals, whistles, thimbles, scissors, and purses. This fusion of utility and fashion inspired me to reimagine these vintage dog whistles with a modern touch.

Chatelaine

Chatelaine, 1863 – 1885, probably England. Museum no. M.32:1 to 13-1969. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

To create my collection, I embarked on an exploration of the technical aspects of whistle design. After several iterations and prototypes, I successfully produced a perfectly functioning and loud whistle. With the technical aspects sorted, I then delved into the artistic design process. I selected eight animals as the starting point: the cat, lion, bulldog, raven, deer, ram, horse, and owl. Each of these animal figures carries its own unique story, which can be discovered in the product descriptions.

The most challenging and time-consuming part of the process was sculpting these small animal figures. It took nearly 6-7 months to complete the entire collection. However, my work doesn't stop there. I have plans to expand the whistle collection with additional animals, including a chimpanzee, hare, pig, and giraffe. I hope you will enjoy the evolving collection.

whistle-necklace-sketches

Please take a moment to explore the full range of our whistle collection and discover the stories behind each animal at here.

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