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I wonder if it's some sort of bosun's whistle? poke around here http://www.whistlemuseum.com/
Wow, Jay, opened up a whole new "whistle" world to me :)
Thank you, interesting thought Jay. It does look a bit like the 17th century gold one pictured there but I cannot get a sound out of it!
:) thank you
That looks good. That "hole" is strange, though. Ruthwood, did you try to blow it? Does it make a decent whistle noise?
Hi Molly, no sound but looks like Fred has the answer - the rattly bits from inside have come out...
My 1st thought was bosun's whistle but.........
I think you have a Siren Whistle, not a Bosun's. A Bosun's W has only one hole in it so that 2 sounds can be made which is all he needs to pipe an officer on board or off.
The Siren has 4 or more openings for the sound to exit. Essentially when you blow into the tube it activates small, steel bb's which rotate around the inside of the W which creates the sound. The bb's rust and fall out. Most were toys.
I couldn't find one on-line like yours but here's a shorter version:
That's great Tomsantiquesetcetera, makes sense :) And it has a little loop on top presumably to hang a cord around your neck.
????? Try blowing smoke through it. Not sure why I thought of that...??? A siren whistle will still whistle if the "pea" is missing. Is there a hole into the "buoy" part? Try filling it with water and blowing, it may chirp (bird whistle) or ......wash your face....I'm clutching at straws here!