Mr.Gumby wrote: ↑Thu Feb 09, 2023 5:17 am
I always feel any history of whistles leans completely on the endlessly repeated received wisdom that Clarke 'invented' the tin whistle and that theirs was the whistle that was played until Generation took over by the 1950s. This ignores the dozens of different whistles that were made and played from at least the mid 19th century onward. I realise the old makers weren't documented much, the whistle being the lowest of the low/cheap means to play music. But if you are trying for a history of whistles there's enough there to warrant a serious look.
Here's an old scan from a book published in Belgium (can't seem to immediately locate it right now). Possibly from the collection of MIM in Brussels but equally possible from the private collection of Herman de Witt (my memory of the details is foggy). Anyhow, all whistles that go pretty much undocumented.
And here's a page from a musical seller's catalogue, note Clarkes were available in Tin, Brass and Nickel. It allows for some comparison of prices.
Yeah, great stuff, thanks Mr Gumby. So we can delve into the past. Our excuses are evaporating!
It would be nice to know a year for that catalog, but Bruno doesn't seem to be very good at dating. I'm looking at another of his catalogs, again no visible date, but Clark's show up on page 246, compared to your page 301, and a tin Clarkes is $1.40 per doz compared to your $1.35. There's also a page for wooden flageolets, of the keyed variety, showing that they were still a thing at that time. Whenever that time was!
A few things catch my eye.
They are all "flageolets", apart from the ones strangely called tin fifes! The term whistle is kept for the thing that calls the dog. I wonder when we started calling them whistles?
And even the French are marketing a 6 holes on top metal flageolet, whereas their wooden ones had featured 4 holes on top and two underneath.
Clarke is spelled Clark, on the illustration of the whistle as well as in the catalog. Clark must have then come across Anne with an E.
Tin is, as you'd expect, cheaper than brass or nickel.
Presumably this is a trade (wholesale) catalog, not a public (retail) catalog. Who's going to want to buy whistles by the dozen? (Well, apart from me in 1974, buying two boxes of ten from Barnes and Mullins in London to feed the starving whistle players in Australia when things had gone very wrong in the moulding process and every whistle in the shops was a total dud!)