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A Blast From the Past
The Kennedy Whistle
The Kennedy whistle at Wm. Kennedy and Sons Ltd. was once the unofficial timekeeper for much of the City of Owen Sound. Located prominently on the waterfront and with a workforce of close to 800 at one time, Kennedy's was at the heart of the city.
The whistle--a working artifact--now sits atop the roof of the Marine & Rail Museum, its new home. Norm Meneray generously donated the whistle to the museum; Wayne King and Robert King donated their equipment and expertise in memory of their father, E.C. King.
The Kennedy Whistle once signaled the start of the workday at 7 a.m. A short blast would sound at five minutes before both 12 noon and 5 p.m. to allow employees to conclude their present projects. A long blast then indicated the lunch break at 12 noon and the end of the workday at 5 p.m.
Official dedication ceremonies were held on the last day of school in June 2002, signaling the start of the students' summer vacation. The whistle remained mute for several months while the Museum underwent alterations to host an independently functioning whistle. Compressors and air reservoir tanks are now located in the Museum basement. Electrical work was done and a timer installed to automatically control the timing and regularity of the whistle.
The original whistle was powered with steam from the machine shop boilers. During the summer when the boilers weren't operational, and in later years when Kennedy's converted to gas, the whistle was activated by an air compressor.
The whistle started signaling the lunch hour at noon and the end of the working day at 5 p.m., again, on December 23, 2002 at a ceremony held in memory of E.C. King by his two sons, Wayne and Robert. It was the 19th anniversary of E.C. King's passing.
When you are visiting the Marine & Rail Museum, keep your eye on the clock because the whistle still blows every Monday to Saturday at 12 noon and 5 pm...... Listen Up!!!!