By Nick Dekker
Posted On: Feb 4, 2022
When the Cincinnati Bengals take the field in SoFi Stadium in the Super Bowl on Feb. 13, the referees will most likely have a little piece of Ohio slung around their necks: a whistle made at the American Whistle Corporation's factory in Worthington!
The American Whistle Corporation has been manufacturing brass whistles since 1956. They're the only manufacturer of metal whistles in the United States, so they supply professional and amateur sports leagues, pools and athletic facilities, law enforcement and outdoors adventure-seekers all across the country and beyond. Their unique equipment allows them to strike custom-designed logos on top of the whistles.
Best of all, you can get a close-up look at the process with a visit to their factory in Worthington, on the north end of Columbus. The small factory is operated by a dedicated set of skilled employees who create the whistles every step of the way, from cutting and bending brass strips to folding it, inserting the plastic ball, stamping it, and packaging it. They make over 1 million whistles a year!
It's amazing how even something as small as a whistle can involve such a complex process. The tours offer a fascinating look at how the whistles are crafted using a mix of modern equipment with old school techniques. Some of the machines have been in use since the company was first founded!
The tour guide explains how the whistles are made, how they make their signature sound, their importance, and who uses them. You get to see the full process up close, like all the individual components, cutting out strips of brass and shaping them, heating and joining the pieces together, stamping it, inserting the plastic ball, polishing the whistle. So many steps for such a simple piece of equipment!
Tours last about 45 minutes and are $5 per person. They must be scheduled in advance; you can book them online at americanwhistle.com/book-online.
Tours for groups of 15+ can be scheduled by calling the factory at (614) 846-2918. If you're going with a group smaller than 15, give them a call and they'll try to include you in an already-scheduled tour. The tours are very popular with school groups, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, etc.
The factory also has a gift shop that's open to the public, so you can purchase metal and plastic whistles, lanyards, T-shirts, and other accessories.