Hamilton’s Fox 40 ships 50,000 electronic whistles to thwart COVID concerns

News Jun 30, 2020 by Steve Milton Hamilton Spectator

An overnight success, a decade in the making.

When Fox 40 International manufactured its first electronic whistle 10 years ago, it was an idea well ahead of its time but its time has arrived as suddenly as, well, a whistle blast.

Monday morning, Fox 40 shipped 50,000 electronic whistles to national and international destinations, most of them sports organizations and leagues with a pandemic-related health concern: droplet-filled air forced from whistles blown by their referees.

Ron Foxcroft, owner and founder of the innovative Hamilton company, said he expects the company to sell 110,000 electronic whistles by the end of July.

The electronic Fox 40’s piercing sound is released by pushing a button. It can be held in the hand, tethered to the wrist or hung from a neck lanyard.

“We’ve been inundated by organizations wanting to test the whistle,” Foxcroft told The Spectator. “I don’t know if it’s going to be a temporary thing or a permanent thing, but we have to meet the demand. Everybody’s concerned about health and safety, and they should be, that trumps everything.”

About 10 centimetres long, the electronic whistle has been compared to a small flashlight. There are two Fox 40 models: the one-tone with a sound output of 96 decibels and the regular, with three tones ranging from 96 to 120 decibels.

The company is already in the process of retooling to produce a more complex whistle for January 2021, which will top out at a shattering 140 decibels, equivalent to the sound of a gunshot.

Orders have come from individual purchasers, the NFL, the NBA, European soccer leagues, the NCAA and several smaller leagues. The Hamilton company has been alerted by many sports groups that purchases may increase because they might soon make electronic whistles mandatory for their game officials.

Despite an inventory of more than 200 products Fox 40 International is best-known for its pea-less whistle, invented more than 30 years ago by Foxcroft himself. It is dominant in not only most sports, but in boat-safety packages, law enforcement and self-protection. Unlike old-school whistles, the Fox 40’s air chamber isn’t dependent upon a small ball (the pea), so it doesn’t seize up, even in adverse weather conditions.

If some leagues make masks compulsory for their game officials, electronic whistles would likely also be a necessity. While other companies also manufacture those whistles, Fox 40 has a long and healthy relationship with most of the continent’s biggest sports organizations.

The pandemic had slashed Fox 40’s overall sales by 85 per cent, forcing layoffs. But with the electronic whistle and the return of the seasonal marine business, about 50 per cent of those furloughed are back at work. There are 50 employees on-site and another 50 around the world.

“We’re definitely interested in the new whistle,” said a spokesperson for the CFL, which has used the pea-less Fox 40 for years. “The pandemic put everything on hold but we anticipate giving it serious consideration.”

Operating on a nine-volt battery good for about 1,000 activations (most sports average about 100 calls per game), the three-tone model sells for $24.95, the single-tone for $19.95. The iconic Fox 40 pea-less retails at $9.95.

Fox 40 designed the electronic whistle 10 years ago in response to some customers who, for cost reasons, wanted a whistle which could be safely sanitized and reused by different officials. But, until the recent avalanche of orders, the largest purchase had been the 3,000 ordered by a European train system.

Joan Powell, a co-ordinator of volleyball officials for American college conferences, told The Spectator that she favours the new whistles but suggested a couple of small design ideas to Foxcroft.

Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, told the New York Times that he considers the electronic whistle “a brilliant idea.”

But the Times also cited worries from some sports leaders that the hand-activated device might trigger too many inadvertent whistles and would not be compatible with the Precision Time system, which instantly stops the official game clock when a pea-less whistle is blown. They also wondered whether it be weatherproof.

All fair critiques, says Foxcroft, who worked extensively with the league to co-ordinate the Fox 40 to work with its Precision Time system.

“Training will solve inadvertent whistles, they’ll quickly get used to the whistle,” Foxcroft says.

“The NBA is concerned about the precision timing, and this model is not tuned to it. But our 2021 model will be, and it will be weatherproof, and rechargeable.

“That’s exactly why we’re retooling.”

Steve Milton is a Hamilton-based sports columnist at The Spectator. Reach him via email: smilton@thespec.com

Hamilton’s Fox 40 ships 50,000 electronic whistles to thwart COVID concerns

Innovative Hamilton company, renowned for ‘pea-less’ whistle should be at 110K orders by end of July; half of previously furloughed employees now back on job

News Jun 30, 2020 by Steve Milton Hamilton Spectator

An overnight success, a decade in the making.

When Fox 40 International manufactured its first electronic whistle 10 years ago, it was an idea well ahead of its time but its time has arrived as suddenly as, well, a whistle blast.

Monday morning, Fox 40 shipped 50,000 electronic whistles to national and international destinations, most of them sports organizations and leagues with a pandemic-related health concern: droplet-filled air forced from whistles blown by their referees.

Ron Foxcroft, owner and founder of the innovative Hamilton company, said he expects the company to sell 110,000 electronic whistles by the end of July.

The electronic Fox 40’s piercing sound is released by pushing a button. It can be held in the hand, tethered to the wrist or hung from a neck lanyard.

“We’ve been inundated by organizations wanting to test the whistle,” Foxcroft told The Spectator. “I don’t know if it’s going to be a temporary thing or a permanent thing, but we have to meet the demand. Everybody’s concerned about health and safety, and they should be, that trumps everything.”

About 10 centimetres long, the electronic whistle has been compared to a small flashlight. There are two Fox 40 models: the one-tone with a sound output of 96 decibels and the regular, with three tones ranging from 96 to 120 decibels.

The company is already in the process of retooling to produce a more complex whistle for January 2021, which will top out at a shattering 140 decibels, equivalent to the sound of a gunshot.

Orders have come from individual purchasers, the NFL, the NBA, European soccer leagues, the NCAA and several smaller leagues. The Hamilton company has been alerted by many sports groups that purchases may increase because they might soon make electronic whistles mandatory for their game officials.

Despite an inventory of more than 200 products Fox 40 International is best-known for its pea-less whistle, invented more than 30 years ago by Foxcroft himself. It is dominant in not only most sports, but in boat-safety packages, law enforcement and self-protection. Unlike old-school whistles, the Fox 40’s air chamber isn’t dependent upon a small ball (the pea), so it doesn’t seize up, even in adverse weather conditions.

If some leagues make masks compulsory for their game officials, electronic whistles would likely also be a necessity. While other companies also manufacture those whistles, Fox 40 has a long and healthy relationship with most of the continent’s biggest sports organizations.

The pandemic had slashed Fox 40’s overall sales by 85 per cent, forcing layoffs. But with the electronic whistle and the return of the seasonal marine business, about 50 per cent of those furloughed are back at work. There are 50 employees on-site and another 50 around the world.

“We’re definitely interested in the new whistle,” said a spokesperson for the CFL, which has used the pea-less Fox 40 for years. “The pandemic put everything on hold but we anticipate giving it serious consideration.”

Operating on a nine-volt battery good for about 1,000 activations (most sports average about 100 calls per game), the three-tone model sells for $24.95, the single-tone for $19.95. The iconic Fox 40 pea-less retails at $9.95.

Fox 40 designed the electronic whistle 10 years ago in response to some customers who, for cost reasons, wanted a whistle which could be safely sanitized and reused by different officials. But, until the recent avalanche of orders, the largest purchase had been the 3,000 ordered by a European train system.

Joan Powell, a co-ordinator of volleyball officials for American college conferences, told The Spectator that she favours the new whistles but suggested a couple of small design ideas to Foxcroft.

Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, told the New York Times that he considers the electronic whistle “a brilliant idea.”

But the Times also cited worries from some sports leaders that the hand-activated device might trigger too many inadvertent whistles and would not be compatible with the Precision Time system, which instantly stops the official game clock when a pea-less whistle is blown. They also wondered whether it be weatherproof.

All fair critiques, says Foxcroft, who worked extensively with the league to co-ordinate the Fox 40 to work with its Precision Time system.

“Training will solve inadvertent whistles, they’ll quickly get used to the whistle,” Foxcroft says.

“The NBA is concerned about the precision timing, and this model is not tuned to it. But our 2021 model will be, and it will be weatherproof, and rechargeable.

“That’s exactly why we’re retooling.”

Steve Milton is a Hamilton-based sports columnist at The Spectator. Reach him via email: smilton@thespec.com

Hamilton’s Fox 40 ships 50,000 electronic whistles to thwart COVID concerns

Innovative Hamilton company, renowned for ‘pea-less’ whistle should be at 110K orders by end of July; half of previously furloughed employees now back on job

News Jun 30, 2020 by Steve Milton Hamilton Spectator

An overnight success, a decade in the making.

When Fox 40 International manufactured its first electronic whistle 10 years ago, it was an idea well ahead of its time but its time has arrived as suddenly as, well, a whistle blast.

Monday morning, Fox 40 shipped 50,000 electronic whistles to national and international destinations, most of them sports organizations and leagues with a pandemic-related health concern: droplet-filled air forced from whistles blown by their referees.

Ron Foxcroft, owner and founder of the innovative Hamilton company, said he expects the company to sell 110,000 electronic whistles by the end of July.

The electronic Fox 40’s piercing sound is released by pushing a button. It can be held in the hand, tethered to the wrist or hung from a neck lanyard.

“We’ve been inundated by organizations wanting to test the whistle,” Foxcroft told The Spectator. “I don’t know if it’s going to be a temporary thing or a permanent thing, but we have to meet the demand. Everybody’s concerned about health and safety, and they should be, that trumps everything.”

About 10 centimetres long, the electronic whistle has been compared to a small flashlight. There are two Fox 40 models: the one-tone with a sound output of 96 decibels and the regular, with three tones ranging from 96 to 120 decibels.

The company is already in the process of retooling to produce a more complex whistle for January 2021, which will top out at a shattering 140 decibels, equivalent to the sound of a gunshot.

Orders have come from individual purchasers, the NFL, the NBA, European soccer leagues, the NCAA and several smaller leagues. The Hamilton company has been alerted by many sports groups that purchases may increase because they might soon make electronic whistles mandatory for their game officials.

Despite an inventory of more than 200 products Fox 40 International is best-known for its pea-less whistle, invented more than 30 years ago by Foxcroft himself. It is dominant in not only most sports, but in boat-safety packages, law enforcement and self-protection. Unlike old-school whistles, the Fox 40’s air chamber isn’t dependent upon a small ball (the pea), so it doesn’t seize up, even in adverse weather conditions.

If some leagues make masks compulsory for their game officials, electronic whistles would likely also be a necessity. While other companies also manufacture those whistles, Fox 40 has a long and healthy relationship with most of the continent’s biggest sports organizations.

The pandemic had slashed Fox 40’s overall sales by 85 per cent, forcing layoffs. But with the electronic whistle and the return of the seasonal marine business, about 50 per cent of those furloughed are back at work. There are 50 employees on-site and another 50 around the world.

“We’re definitely interested in the new whistle,” said a spokesperson for the CFL, which has used the pea-less Fox 40 for years. “The pandemic put everything on hold but we anticipate giving it serious consideration.”

Operating on a nine-volt battery good for about 1,000 activations (most sports average about 100 calls per game), the three-tone model sells for $24.95, the single-tone for $19.95. The iconic Fox 40 pea-less retails at $9.95.

Fox 40 designed the electronic whistle 10 years ago in response to some customers who, for cost reasons, wanted a whistle which could be safely sanitized and reused by different officials. But, until the recent avalanche of orders, the largest purchase had been the 3,000 ordered by a European train system.

Joan Powell, a co-ordinator of volleyball officials for American college conferences, told The Spectator that she favours the new whistles but suggested a couple of small design ideas to Foxcroft.

Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, told the New York Times that he considers the electronic whistle “a brilliant idea.”

But the Times also cited worries from some sports leaders that the hand-activated device might trigger too many inadvertent whistles and would not be compatible with the Precision Time system, which instantly stops the official game clock when a pea-less whistle is blown. They also wondered whether it be weatherproof.

All fair critiques, says Foxcroft, who worked extensively with the league to co-ordinate the Fox 40 to work with its Precision Time system.

“Training will solve inadvertent whistles, they’ll quickly get used to the whistle,” Foxcroft says.

“The NBA is concerned about the precision timing, and this model is not tuned to it. But our 2021 model will be, and it will be weatherproof, and rechargeable.

“That’s exactly why we’re retooling.”

Steve Milton is a Hamilton-based sports columnist at The Spectator. Reach him via email: smilton@thespec.com