The Whistle Controller No. 167 would evolve from the pre-war No. 166. The need for this controller began in 1935 when Lionel introduced the first on-board whistle for electric trains. The pre-war versions of this controller were plagued with problems like having to push two buttons at once and frequent burn-outs.
This post-war version is used in conjunction with the No. R, V, and Z Transformers and was available in 1945 and 1946 for use with these transformers. By 1947, all of the Transformers that Lionel was producing included a built in whistle and directional control. However, it is known by the dates on the instruction sheets that production of this controller continued into 1954.
The first Post War instruction sheets that were issued with this controller are numbered 167-29 and are dated 10-45 and there were two printings in 1946 dated 1-46 that were printed with DARK BLUE ink on LIGHT BLUE paper. There is no listing of the Chicago or San Francisco Service Stations on these sheets.
When Lionel added a circuit breaker to this controller the instruction sheet was changed to No. 167-55 in the latter part of 1946. While this first sheet was not dated, other sheets would follow in 4-47 and 9-47 and these sheets are again printed with DARK BLUE ink on LIGHT BLUE paper. The front page of this sheet is shown below.
Sometime in 1948 Lionel began to use WHITE paper for their instruction sheets. Again the first example of the instruction sheet for this controller is not dated. Subsequent WHITE sheets used DARK BLUE ink and are dated 2-50, 6-53, and the last known date is 8-54. On the last issues of this sheet the letter "C" would be eliminated from the title. Lionel followed this same procedure by eliminating the "C" that was stamped on the base plate. The first issues used a bottom plate that were BLACK in color, later issues have depressions in the base. Some base plates were nickel plated, and others have a dull cadmium plated base plate.
Early castings of the bakelite housing had an inverted "T" shape molded into the space between the "REVERSE" and "WHISTLE" buttons on top. Some of the later issues would have ejection pin marks at the four corners of the case top to facilitate service. Latter issues have what is known as a 5/16" diameter "dummy button" that was cast into the housing and is located halfway between the buttons.