Acoustic signal Schiffshebewerk Henrichenburg Ship shipping signal device Signalling Steam Steam ship Waltrop Warning signal

Steam whistle

The steam whistle of the steamboat “Nixe” from the year 1939 served as a means of communication through acoustic signals for the inland shipping industry. The “Nixe” was on duty on the Mittelland Canal and on the Elbe as a tugboat and for supervision and travel for the Canal Authority. Today the LWL-Industrial Museum uses this ship for visitor excursions.
Through certain sequences of short (1 second) and long (4-6 seconds) toots, the steam whistle could give danger and warning signals. In addition, signals alerting to bad visibility conditions as well as maneuvering signals could be given.
In order to produce a sound, the skipper pulls a lever in the wheelhouse to open a valve, thereby letting steam escape, which streams from an annular gap against the sharp edge of a whistle bell. This generates vibrations in the air column of the bell, which are perceived as a loud whistling sound.

Sound recordist: Konrad Gutkowski / Jonathan Nicolai
Photographer: Konrad Gutkowski / Jonathan Nicolai
Video recordist: Konrad Gutkowski / Jonathan Nicolai


1.8 MB
10 s
2 (Stereo)
Sample rate:
Bit rate:
Bit depth:
44.1 kHz
1411 kb/s
16 bit
103 dB

Recorded on September 27, 2014
LWL-Industriemuseum Schiffshebewerk Henrichenburg
Waltrop, GERMANY
Creative Commons License