Historical Whistles

Steam engine

Picture taken at a different angle of the steam engine from a sternwheel steamboat. Courtesy of Thomas Court, Provincial Museum and Archives of Alberta, 12845 102 Ave., Edmonton 40, Alberta, Canada T5N OM6.

Thomas Court

Content Tools

304 N. Glover Drive, Longview, Texas 75601.

By those who know me personally I am sometimes referred to as 'the whistle man.' This is due to the fact that my hobby is that of collecting steam whistles. This hobby was begun many years ago and so far have collected more than 225 steam whistles. The larger portion of my collection has been sold to 'The Red Caboose Motel' at Strasburg, Pa. It is now on display at this point, and may be seen by those who visit the famous Strasburg railroad, known as 'The Road To Paradise'. Mr. Donald Denlinger, owner and operator of The Red Caboose Motel and Railroad Museum, will be pleased to show the collection of steam artifacts which I formerly owned. You will, if you are a steam engine enthusiast, enjoy seeing this historical collection.

Recently I came in possession of two steam whistles with historical backgrounds. One of these whistles was installed at the Texas and Pacific Railroad Shops at Marshall, Texas, in 1888, and was used till the shop was dismantled in 1950, at which time the diesel-electric locomotives took the place of the steam locomotives. This whistle is made of red brass and weighs 180 lbs. It has been heard on certain days more than 25 miles about the countryside.

The second whistle was originally owned by an old engineer who ran from San Antonio, to Laredo, Texas, more than 50 years ago. It has this engineer's name stamped on top of it. It weighs about 50 lbs. and is of the chime type.

A third whistle I own comes from the old Jefferson and Northwestern Railroad and was used on that line till its abandonment about 1935. A Mr. Prue, now deceased, owned and used this whistle for many years. He rescued it from the scrap dealers many years ago when the J. & N. W. Railroad was abandoned. I own now more than 25 whistles which I have collected since selling my large collection to the Red Caboose Motel Museum at Strasburg, Pa. In addition to the steam whistle collection, I have been successful in collecting many other artifacts pertaining to the Age Of Steam, including locomotive bells, marker and switch lights, locks and keys, telegraph instruments, many kerosene burning lanterns, dining car silverware, railroad emblems, brakeman's caps, agents caps, railroad tower lights, etc. Due to the scarcity of these things I find the prices are high, and that there is an unwillingness on the part of many people to sell them. This I can understand as no more of these things will be made and individuals like to hold on to things used in days passed. Let all of the old steam engine men take notice don't let the scrap metal dealers tell you that what you have is of no value and induce you to sell it to them for practically nothing. I want to see both the old steam engine men and their possessions around as long as possible. Here I blow the whistle and end this article.