Is my whistle really a steam whistle?
This is a very good question. Common misconceptions about certain
items lead some to believe they have whistles when actually they don't.
Here are some examples of steam whistles and non-whistles with their
1.) Dead man whistle.
These whistles were used in the cabs of diesels to alert the engineer that
his foot came off the dead man pedal. They were usually placed
behind the control panel in front of the engineer. Most whistles of this
nature were around two to four inches tall marked with a funny looking
little symbol meaning
2.) Car/Exhaust Whistle. Years ago some
cars were outfitted with exhaust whistles as warning devices. These photos
show examples of exhaust whistles.
3.) Caboose Whistle. Way back
when railroads used cabooses each usually had a signaling device on each
end. Sometimes used to signal the engineer and other times to warn
pedestrians if the train was backing up. Also, in an emergency they could
dump the air and lock the brakes.
4.) Pop-Off Valve. These
devices were the only thing between blowing up, and staying in one piece.
When the steam pressure would get to high in a boiler, the spring loaded
pop off valves would open up and let so many pounds of pressure out. They
could be set to regulate how much drop was needed.