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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!

It does share some of the characteristics, it was just a thoughtGood luck...

:) 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:

https://www.google.com/search?q=vintage+siren+whistle&client=fi...:

That's great Tomsantiquesetcetera, makes sense :) And it has a little loop on top presumably to hang a cord around your neck.

Thank you

????? 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!

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