Steam Whistle Concert

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No. 18

STR. CASABLANCA. During World War II a series of steam propeller tow boats were built for the Defense Plant Corp. which have since been known to river men as the ''DPC's'. This one was built in 1944 and immediately chartered to the American Barge Line who then bought her in 1946. The CASABLANCA worked continuously until retired last year and is now scheduled to be made into a dredge. Her cast iron 3-chime whistle was taken off just for this concert by River Service of Jeffersonville, Indiana.

No. 19

AUCTION WHISTLE No. 1 is a brass 3-chime whistle with valve. The bell length is 8'. Nothing is known of its history it looks old and sounds good. This whistle will toe auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Schweizer Fest Beer Garden August 1st at 7:30 P.M.

No. 29

THE TELL CITY SPOKE CO. was founded in 1889, located in the area now occupied by the Maxon yard on the south side of the flood wall. In 1900, according to an old newspaper report, this firm employed 25 men and turned out 5,000 finished spokes daily that is, spokes for Wagon Wheels. This whistle, loaned by Pete Ziegler of Tell City, hasn't been heard for several score years.

No. 21

SOUTHWESTERN FURNITURE CO. WILDCAT WHISTLE. We call this by the name of the older company because it has rarely been blown since this old Tell City factory was reactivated as the William Tell Woodcrafters. In fact, this whistle will be a big surprise to many Tell Citians who do not remember it as a wildcat. John Knaebel tells us this is not the original whistle of this firm which was founded 1873. He helped install it in 1917 when an addition was made to the plant. While not positive, he believes it was the original whistle of our Water Works, replaced by the present fire whistle or curfew. Loaned by William Tell Woodcrafters, Tell City.

No. 22

L & N 1878 was a Mikado type freight engine built in the late 1920's, and used in mainline freight service all her life. She had about 150 sisters enough like her, you had to see their numbers to tell them apart. This 3-chime whistle was loaned by Alan L. Bates of Louisville.

No. 23

TRUCK EXHAUST HORN. In earlier days, autos and trucks were not to be outdone by steamboats and locomotives, and many of them were fitted with whistles such as this one, which operated on their manifold or exhaust. Wilbert Berger mentioned the other day that the Tell City Brewing Co. had an exhaust horn on its old solid-tired International Truck. It was mounted under the running board. The one on our concert is marked 'Fulton Aermore Exhaust Horn No. 00' and was loaned by James Reising of Louisville, Kentucky. This is a cluster of four separate whistles, the largest being 18' long and 13/8' in diameter. We cannot guarantee its carrying power, and are putting 200 lbs. of steam into it with no little trepidation.

No. 24

THE TOW BOAT TOM PUSH was a diesel boat, nevertheless she carried this Steam Whistle, blowing it with air, because Capt. Hershel Moore happened to like it. And we might add that it's a pretty big whistle to be blowing with air. This brass Single-chime whistle is a veteran of previous Steamboats. Loaned by Bert Fenn of Tell City.

No. 25

STR. JOHN W. HART was built in 1890, owned by Lovell Brothers, wholesale grocers of Nashville, Tenn. She operated chiefly on the upper Cumberland River, making regular trips between Nashville and Burnside, Ky. (Look that city up on a map and you'll be surprised how far 'inland' some of these boats wandered.) She was a good light draft boat and served Tell City occasionally as a low water packet. On April 5, 1897 she burned near Granville, Tenn. This whistle had been mounted between her smoke stacks and was recovered after the fire, was used on various sawmills and finally on the L. T. Stone Lumber Co. of Cookeville, Tenn. until 1956. Somewhere along the line this whistle was blown over in a high wind and the small whistle damaged. Courtney M. Ellis of Nashville, Tennessee who loaned the whistle has replaced it with a larger one and doesn't guarantee that this will produce the exact sound of the JOHN W. HART. Nevertheless two-thirds of this whistle is 'right off the boat', as there are three single-chime whistles on a manifold mounting.

No. 26

AUCTION WHISTLE No. 2 is a brass single-chime whistle with valve. It has a 5' bell, 3' in diameter. This one likes less than 200 lbs. of steam but we'll try to make it sound pretty. Will go to the highest bidder at the Beer Garden August 1st at 7:30 P.M.

No. 27

NEW YORK CENTRAL WHISTLE. This most unusual whistle is a cast brass 5-chime whistle, which is to say it is five separate chambers in one casting, all of which blow simultaneously from one 'bowl'. It is marked P & L E, which was a NYC subsidiary, but somehow ended up on a Winslow, Algiers & Western engine in Indiana. Loaned by Dr. Howard Blackburn of Louisville, Ky.

No. 28

STR. C. C. SLIDER was a stern wheel tow boat built in 1928 for the E. T. Slider Co. of Louisville. She was familiar for many years around this area and was dismantled in 1952 in the local Maxon yard. Walt Paulin of Tell City loaned this whistle and says it's the C. C. Slider's. There are two 3-chime whistles on a T mounting, so you'll hear six notes when this one sounds off.

No. 29

SOUTHERN ENGINE No. 6282 was a freight engine that ran between Louisville and Danville, Ky. Her 3-chime cast iron whistle is loaned by E. G. Baker of Louisville, Kentucky.

No. 30

THE TELL CITY DESK CO. was founded in 1890 and one of the principal organizers was Clay Switzer, Tell City's Wharfmaster. Capt. Switzer got this whistle for the new factory from a steamboat whose name is forgotten. In daily use until 1953, this whistle was removed when the Tell City Chair Company bought the Desk Company properties, and the whistle substituted was the original from the Chair Makers Union Factory No. 1. This brass 3-chime whistle is loaned by Bert Fenn, Tell City.

No. 31

IMITATION OF STR. INDIANA WHISTLE. Alan L. Bates fell in love with this 285 ft. side wheel boat when he drew scale model plans of her long after she had burned. In researching his plans he had contacted Capt. Jesse P. Hughes who dug down into his treasure trove of memories and records and came up with the dimensions of her whistles, Capt. Jesse had made this record because he himself liked the INDIANA'S whistle so much that he'd had it copied for the TACOMA. Later the TACOMA'S whistle was altered by adding a very small fourth whistle. Anyway, Alan worried this thing around for years until he concluded he'd never be completely happy without hearing what the INDIANA sounded like blowing for a landing. He altered a 3-chime whistle to the proportions of the INDIANA'S and will hear it for the first time during this concert. No one knows what it will sound like and if Capt. Jesse or some other old-timer isn't present perhaps we'll never know if it's a fair imitation.

This INDIANA whistle was a favorite in the Louisville to Cincinnati area. It was built originally for the MINNIE BAY in 1883, passed on to the SHERLEY and then to the INDIANA when she was built in 1900. The whistle was lost when the INDIANA burned in 1916. The original whistle was made up of three separate whistles 9', 12' and 18' long. The whistle in our concert is a 3-chime whistle altered to those lengths and loaned by Alan L. Bates of Louisville, Ky.

No. 32

STR. CHRIS GREENE. This whistle was made by the Heslop Machine Shop at Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia, to the specifications of Capt. C. C. Bowyer for the excursion steamer HOMER SMITH. When Capt. Bowyer sold the HOMER SMITH he retained the whistle and presented it to the Greene Line for use on their new packet CHRIS GREENE. She carried this whistle all her working life, from 1926 until 1947. Later this whistle was used for a year or so on the DELTA QUEEN but has since been replaced with her original whistle. The CHRIS GREENE and the TOM GREENE were the last packets in service between Louisville and Cincinnati. The CHRIS GREENE is now used as a boat club opposite Cincinnati and can be seen there today. The whistle is quite large, composed of three separate whistles on a branch mounting, the largest having a bell 27' high and 8' in diameter. Loaned by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Ohio.

No. 33

WILDCAT WHISTLE FROM LANGSTAFF PLANING MILL, PADUCAH, KY. This surely must be the grand daddy of all wildcat whistles it's the largest anyone has remembered seeing. The bell is 30' long and 9' in diameter. The plunger travels 20'. The Langstaff Mill was located on the Tennessee Chute in Paducah and ceased operations about 1939. Courtney M. Ellis of Nashville, Tennessee who loaned it for the concert has never heard it, but was so impressed when he first saw it he worked for eleven years to acquire it and has waited another ten years to hear it today. To which we can only add that having seen it our self we're sure we couldn't be that patient. It's a lulua one-of-a-kind made out of pipe and iron, by either a genius or Rube Goldberg himself.

No. 34

STENTORIAN FINALE, a pandemonium of ten whistles blown simultaneously, producing thirty different sounds, to which will be added the wails of the Giant Heul Hund. Guaranteed to leave you speechless.


Only because of the generosity and interest of the organizations and collectors who have loaned their whistles has this concert been possible.

Produced by Tell City Historical Society, Inc. Directed by BERT FENN and ALAN L. BATES. Technical Engineer: CLARENCE HOWLAND. Technical Assistants: PLINY LUDWIG, VERNIEĀ  PEKINPAUGH, JESSE FRANCHVILLE and JOSEPH BUCHANAN.

Whistles will be blown by the staff and various whistle owners.