The American Whistle Corporation is located in Columbus, Ohio and is the only metal whistle company made in the USA. Founded in 1956 as Colsoff Manufacturing, American Whistle has been operated by the current owner since 1987.
I had set up a tour appointment with American Whistle employee, Amber Roberston, and she was nice enough to take the time to show me the facilities and explain the process they use to manufacture their over 1 million whistles every year. Amber talked me through the company’s history, how the whistles are made, what they offer and their niche in the overall whistle market. Amber is the newest member of the 9 person workforce at American Whistle, and she has been there for over 5 years! The rest of the crew measure their tenure in decades, not years, a true testament to a great company.
Perhaps the most awe inspiring thing about American Whistle isn’t the grand size of their factory, or the super hi-tech machinery they use for manufacturing their premium whistles, it was just the opposite. I was amazed that in such a modest factory, with some machinery that dated over 100 years old, this force of dedicated American workers produced the leading Whistle in today’s market. Within their factory they cut, stamp, smooth, polish, assemble, solder, and pack every whistle. There is a real sense of history, nostalgia and can-do attitude when you step onto the American Whistle factory floor.
Work-stations are setup with the appropriate machinery to perfect the step-by-step process of the whistle manufacturing. There is an equal effort from the humans as there are machines. Laying around the presses are coils of brass, waiting to be stamped and bent into form. American Whistle uses brass exclusively, unique in the whistle market, because they are looking for that superior sound quality like you find in a premium musical instruments. The whistles are always brass so you have a consistent quality product, but they offer it in several finishes and plating options.
Every aspect of their whistle is made in America, from the tethers you wear around your neck, to the rubber-injected color covers that they make in-house. The defining characteristic of an American Whistle is the ability to imprint your own custom logo into the brass whistle using the in-house 37-ton press. It was apparent when you walk into the factory, and you see the sampling of whistles on display, that universities, police departments, the NFL and Cub Scouts across the country have taken advantage of this feature. Corporate Identities and commemorative logos adorn their one-of-a-kind whistles, making them not only the highest quality American-made whistle, but also unique.
The above video features the American Whistle Corporation’s factory in Columbus, Ohio USA.