An ACME Whistles Showcase
It’s Spring Fair time once again in Birmingham at the National Exhibition Centre - the UK’s biggest gift fair and one of the half dozen top shows worldwide - and it is the perfect platform to showcase our ACME Whistles Prestige Range of high end, precious metal jewellery and gift whistles.
The other great feature of the Spring Fair is that the visitors come from so many different backgrounds you never know who you are going to meet next, and what unusual use for your products you will encounter. It was at this show that our fun invention, The Loch Ness Monster Call, was born as well as the ‘Kit-Kat’ duck call which found its place in their famous TV advert. This year’s show did not disappoint in producing unusual customers as I will mention later.
All Time Favourites ACME Thunderer & Police Whistles
The miniature Thunderer whistles proved a big hit. Sterling silver always attracts, but the big star of the show was rose gold. It outsold all other finishes three to one. What made it work especially well as a gift item was the story behind it. These tiny replicas (every one of them working which surprised a lot of buyers) are replicas of the World’s first sports whistle, The Acme Thunderer, that was designed, patented and first used in 1884. Lots of enquiries and, more importantly, orders were placed. Ben engendered a lot of interest by showing the next ’follow-on’ product, a miniature replica of the first Metropolitan Police Whistle from 1883. Smaller than the miniature Thunderer and clearly eagerly anticipated by the retailers who saw it.
The Exhibition Stand featuring the giant Trench Whistle
Both of these products are classic designs; simple in their concept and form, combining both facets to produce a functionality that is always reliable and cannot be improved. Beautiful in their simplicity and with a time-honoured acceptance by generation after generation, the ACME Thunderer and the Metropolitan Police whistle have set the standard set for the whole industry. The Thunderer still appears in sporting world finals, and police forces around the globe carry the Metropolitan Whistle.
Being new, the miniatures caused a stir - but the full-sized classics proved as popular as ever. All of the J Hudson & Co Prestige Range have an authenticity of their own, in an age when the copycat item is everywhere this single attribute was the one most in demand. ACME authentic ‘Silent’ dog whistles, still unrivalled despite the many attempts to have cheap copies made in China, are more in demand than ever.
ACME Whistles - Part of Our Nation’s Heritage
Reproductions of our Air Ministry Whistles - one of which was presented to His Royal Highness Prince William on a recent royal visit to the company - were first made in our factory in 1918, and are still made not only in the original workshop but using some of the original equipment.
Alongside the Artillery Whistle and the Boatswain’s Call are the ACME Trench Whistles. In this centenary period of World War I they have been an item much sought after. So many of our Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers must have been familiar with its battlefield sound as it gave the order to go “over the top”.
Something that we have to think about constantly as a company with a prestigious history (especially as one still capable of making the products of yesteryear) is whether to focus on retro whistles and their part in history, or whether to focus on the current range of modern products. At this show we decided to highlight the lesser known (because they are newer) jewellery items together with other authentic models. But lots of people came by our stand asking about the latest referee and sports whistles, contemporary musical whistles and survival whistles. It’s good to have it all, but we do sometimes wonder if we need two different exhibition stands to do justice to both sides of the coin.
As mentioned earlier, the surprise enquiry came along on day three. To add some interest to the stand we placed a giant replica of the World War I Trench whistles in the middle of the stand. These were originally made for the Birmingham City Parks Department. They used them to create a fountain on the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show. The exhibit by Birmingham, at that years show, was a WWI trench themed to coincide with the commemorations of the start of the start of the war 100 years ago.
The giant whistles, perfect replicas - although few people have the chest expansion required to blow them - have only ever been intended as display aids. So, when a buyer wanted to take 100 to sell through his organisation we were dumbfounded. All made by hand in our toolroom by Dave and Ray.
That’s an order that will keep them busy for weeks!