Acme Whistles is the one and only trademark product of the J. Hudson Co. Ltd. Acme is the world’s largest and most famous producer of whistles. Headquartered in the Jewellery Quarter district of Birmingham, England, their patented designs are the recognized standard in loud noise production. The name “Acme” comes from the Greek word “acme”, meaning a high point. This indicates that the whistle is a tool for producing a very high decibel level.
In 1883 Joseph Hudson, a toolmaker and violinist, began tinkering in his toolshed to make gadgets to sell. One of the things he made were whistles. Prior to that time whistles had been used as musical instruments. After observing Bobbies (British Police) having a hard time communicating with rattles, he realized that his whistle could be used as a tool.
As the story goes, Hudson accidentally dropped his violin and it shattered on the floor. After observing how the discordant sound of the strings breaking traveled, he got the idea to put a pea in the whistle. This gave it an ear splitting rattle that could grab attention up to two miles away. After a demonstration at Scotland Yard he had his first sale. The first whistle was nicknamed the “Thunderer” and the rest was history. The “Thunderer” is still Acme’s best selling brand. It is also very suitable as a percussion instrument and a toy music instrument for children.
Today Acme sells over 5 million whistles per year. They have made over a billion whistles altogether. While most today are made of plastic, the original whistles were made from folded brass strips. In addition to the “Thunderer”, they make varieties of bird calls, dog calls, safety whistles, sports whistles, and party whoopers.