James Dixon & Sons

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J Dixon & Sons (James Dixon & Sons) founded 1806 in Sheffield, was one of the major British manufacturers in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. They were the best-known manufacturer of Britannia metal, and also the world leader in manufacturing shooting accessories thru the late Victorian era[citation needed], and numerous other items from precision tools to aircraft propellors, They were particularly known as whistle makers, known for their outstanding quality; they were one of the 4 great whistle makers, the others being W Dowler & Sons, J Stevens & Son & T Yates.[1]

It was located first at Silver Street (1806), Cornish Place (1822) Sheffield .

Their registered trade mark since 1879 was a Trumpet with a Banner hanging from it. Although registered in 1879, the "Trumpet with Banner" logo was used for many years before registration and appears on many of their silver plate pieces. Besides whistles, they were one of the foremost names in silver plate and sterling tableware including silver tea services and hollowware pieces. They also made silver ware serving pieces and had a wide catalogue of patterns. Their tea sets and hollowware pieces are very valuable as antiques.

The firm continued to be a family run enterprise until 1976. .

In 1915 the company sold its stock to an Italian Co. and ceased manufacturing shooting accessories.

Since 1976 The company was purchased and was in an American ownership.


Early history[edit]

Whistles first appeared in a Dixon catalogue in 1883 though some of their whistles appeared in gun, rifles & sporting goods catalogs of American manufacturers & distributors as early as 1872 for [dog call]s made of Britannia metal,[2]

Early models of Dixon horn made Round pea whistle were in use with carriage drivers & railway conductors since the 1840s and mailmen of the Post Office as early as 1850 .

Models, whistle types & Materials[edit]

Dixon manufactured whistles of Sterling Silver, German silver (also known as nickel silver), gun metal, Britannia metal, ivory, and horn, often using cocoa wood for fipples, A unique feature by which their round pea whistles can be identified.

Dixon models were intended mostly for outdoor sporting goods, such as hunting related dog calls, shooting gadgets combination whistles, extractors of various kinds and round whistles (in multiple sizes of over 50 different models), Beaufort whistles & double chamber type . D Dixon did not make Escargot-type whistles. It was not known that Dixon & Sons made general service whistles (GSWs) until 2006 when one was discovered.

At 1938 The family donated a collection of whistles made by Dixon to the City of Sheffield, the collection is displayed at the City Hall and pictured at a brochure about Sheffield's arm accsesories makers.( See Picture in External link ).

Body stamps[edit]

Most of the Dixon whistles found are not stamped, as it was not customary to stamp whistles in the earlier Victorian era, except for the ones made of sterling silver .

As a result all of Dixon stamped whistles are very rare; the ones stamped J. Dixon & Sons are be a bit less rare than the others, as is the Dixon Logo of Trumpet and Banner.

Stamps found on their whistles are: " Durham county constabulary " on Tappered round whistles, some refer to as short Beauforts. Distributors name stamps found include "C. Parker Late Merry Parker & Merry", "Merry Phipson & Parker", "C. Parker", " Priest Oxford St.", "F. Sykes", "Patstone Southampton", "Swaine & Co. London" . The stamps: "Nimrod " and " Patent No.33196 " (Moffatt's patent 11396 of 1887) are to be found on extractors and shooting gadgets as well as stamps of numbers 8, 12, & 16, showing the extractor ([cartridge puller]) gauge.

Some rare sterling silver whistles are found with the standard British silver hallmarks of the time and initials "J.D & Sons".


  1. ^ Gilchrist, M. (2005). More whistles. ISBN 0-9550231-0-6. 
  2. ^ J. H. Johnston at Great Western Gun Works, Pittsburgh, PA. catalog