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Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy - British Council
 This article was generously provided to ClubFootball by the British Council, which operates in China as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy.


Always play to the whistle! Wherever football is played, the chances are that the referee's whistle is an 'Acme Thunderer'. Invented by Joseph Hudson, an English toolmaker from Birmingham, in 1884, the Thunderer has been heard in 137 countries; at World Cups, Cup Finals, in parks, playing fields and beaches across the globe.
Over 160 million Thunderers have been manufactured by Hudson & Co., which is still based in Birmingham, England. Apart from football, Hudson whistles have also been used by crewmen on the Titanic, by British 'bobbies' (policemen) and by reggae musicians.
The 'Acme City' - 1875
The' Acme City' whistle was made in around 1875 and was almost certainly the type used for the first football match ever to be played with a referee's whistle, at Nottingham in 1878.
The 'Acme Thunderer' - 1884
The original 'Acme Thunderer' was the world's first reliable 'pea' whistle, designed in 1884.
The 'Acme Thunderer' Version Two - 1920
The improved 'Acme Thunderer' dates from around 1920. It was smaller, shriller and with its tapered mouthpiece, was more comfortable for referees.
'Model No. 60 1/2' - 1923
This could have been the type of whistle used in the first Wembley Cup Final in 1923. Called 'Model No. 60 1/2' , it was designed for use in big crowds.
The 'Pro-Soccer' Whistle - 1930
For even greater power and a higher pitch in noisy stadia, the 'Pro-Soccer' whistle, first used in 1930, had a special mouthpiece and barrel. The modern version is still popular.
The 'Tornado 2000' - 1988
Now prepare for the world's most powerful whistle, the 'Tornado 2000.' First made by Hudson in 1988 it has been heard at World Cups, UEFA Champion League matches and at the F.A. Cup Final.




May 2001

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