Archive for March 18th, 2004

Whistle for it. . .

ThisisLondon Nice piece about Midland mainline using a louder type of whistle to ‘launch’ it’s trains. Apparently the old whistle just didn’t get us stressed and crabby passengers moving quick enough, which was having a knock on effect on train punctuality. . (beats leaves on the line) . . the shriller the whistle, the quicker people obey.

Anyway, the whistle in question, the Acme Thunderer, is produced by Acme Whistles of Birmingham, to a 100 year old design, and still carried by Police Constables today. Take a look at the (gulp) T2000 from Acme, this is the Whistle Robo-Cop would use. Is this company the last surviving example of British Manufacturing?

Begs the design question, how can you improve on the deisgn of a whistle? Perhaps some objects reach a design zenith? They might be made different materials, or be subject to the whims of fashion, but do some object warrant a certain final form? Writing implements don’t seem to have changed much (history of the pencil), nor has cutlery & (history of everyday things) online summary here. Perhaps this is because where change happens least is where the object is constrained by our form, the size of our hands or the size of our mouths?

Still, it’s nice to see Acme prospering since they lost the Wiley E. Coyote supply contract.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
March 2004