• If you like antique engines, vintage tractors or old iron, please register and join us. When registering, please provide your CITY and STATE as your location!

What's Your Favorite Steam Whistle?


Re: Whats your favorite Steam Whistle?

I have a 12 inch Crosby whistle. It is 46 inches tall, weighs 260 pounds and has a 3 inch steam line. I think this would be a bit large for a traction engine. A line that big with the whistle full open would probably syphon water from the boiler and drain the boiler faster than the blowdown. I agree the small whistles are shrill and annoying. Mockingbird whistles and sirens are always fun and interesting as a second whistle. Longer bell whistles have a deeper tone and are more pleasant to the ear. The Buckeyes have longer bells. Another whistle that is deceptive is the Powell. Beth V. has a Powell pictured above (Horizontal with ruler). The longer chamber goes to the top and then out over the shorter bell. This gives it a deep bell tone. I personally think the Powell’s have the nicest chords and are the least shrill. I do have a Chinese step top and feel they are good whistles and sound nice. The Chinese still build and run steam locomotives today. Pictured is a 6-inch Chinese step top 5-chime locomotive whistle (left), and a Powell 8-inch 3-chime (Right)
NIce. Where did you get the Crosby?
I just picked up "The Whistles Moan", a great book for anyone interested in steam whistles.


Steven Oszust

Re: Whats your favorite Steam Whistle?

sure would like to find a big whistle for our steam barn we are using a locomotive 5 chine and a 8" 3 chine now, but want a bigger on like the 12" Crosby you talk about we use these to wake up everyone at our show every day at 7 am it brings a smile to out faces every day

Ben Busfield

Last Subscription Date
Re: Whats your favorite Steam Whistle?

:) and a few more pics of it thanks for any help
in post 25 is a photo of what I talking about

I am not a very happy person at the moment at all I gave this to a we will say a person to put a new rob in it as they work with metal; all the time and have a shop with tools to fix everything so I thought. I F^$#@@ up big time they drilled this and broke the bit and messed the spider all to hell up. they still wanted $$$$ for trying to fix this !!! "WHAT" not that the spider may be junk and my whistle useless at this time and you want what and how much LOL fat chance. a few days later and leaving the rope at home I went back and someone in the shop was shocked that this is what happened to it and handed it all back to me and stated that the owner was not in just take this and he would deal with the guy at another time I found out that this guy I talked to is a co-owner and was not happy at all about this as well. they will never get me in there driveway again. now the big question can this poor spider be fixed or is a replacement out there some where. I can post some photos of what happened to it in the morning as I am still so upset I can hardly look at the mess I have on my hands. The biggest thing like everyone else $ is the issue but I am hope full that you guys that know more that I can help and shed some light on this grim issue that it can be fixed..

Ryan Williams

Last Subscription Date
Ben, sorry to hear what happened to your whistle. Post pictures, that's about the only way to tell what's up. Maybe even start a new thread for repairing a mockingbird. That'll be the best bet for getting you some help. Saying "messed the spider all to hell up " is certainly cathartic but doesn't really detail what is broken.

As far as favorite whistles go, Hancock Longbell 3 chime is my absolute favorite, Southern Pacific variant if such a thing truly exists. It's debated whether a certain variant existed specifically for the Daylight series or if perceivable difference exists purely from casting and wear. I'm no expert in that area but either way, I like it! I've been listening to the 4449 since I was born.

Second goes to the SP 6 chime. Crisp and loud, it'll grab your attention no matter what. Runner up award goes to George's CNR McCavity 3 chime which I enjoy to no end. A nice blend of a deep, authoritative bellow and a pleasant melody that doesn't sound particularly shrill or moaning. This video demonstrates my tastes for the most part. This is a video of George's whistle, camera was way to close so the quality is horrible but you can still get an idea of the sound.

Now if only I actually owned one!