Other than the gargantuan volume and power, the main difference between Nathan AirChime Train Horns and any other is the rich history and character these horns have. Does your horn have a backstory? Every Nathan AirChime Train Horn that we sell has been tried and tested on real locomotives for years before they end up being installed on your vehicle. When you purchase a Nathan AirChime Train Horn, you are buying a piece of history. What other horn do you know of is tested for years out in the sleet, snow, and rain before you purchase it?
Nathan Airchime Train Horns were designed and manufactured to last for decades on trains that are constantly out in the elements all over North America. That means they are trusted to work each and every time, night and day, rain or shine. If you are making the investment into a train horn kit, why buy anything other than a household name that has been tried and tested for the past one hundred-fifty plus years?
That’s right, we said one hundred-fifty plus years. Nathan AirChime Train Horns have been ruling the rails for longer than any of us have been alive. Nathan Manufacturing Company was established in New York in 1864. In 1953, the Airchime Truck Horn was modified to be used on locomotives. The end result was the very first P-style Train Horns, also known as “The President’s Whistle”. The Nathan AirChime P-Horn took the rails by storm with its incredible volume, lower manufacturing cost, and little-to-no maintenance. The P-Horn has gone through many different changes over the years, with the three-chime P3 and the five-chime P5 being the most commonly seen today.
Shortly after the P-Horn’s introduction, the K- series horns made their debut in 1954. The K-Horn originally had a higher pitch than the P-horns and came in three chimes and five chime versions named the K3H and the K5H, respectively.
Back then, the “H” stood for “High Pitch”, though nowadays the “H” stands for “High Bracket” with the K5L having the ‘L” designator to indicate a “Low Bracket” style. Robert Swanson, who had designed both horns believed the K-Horn to be the superior horn, the P-Horn being the cheaper alternative.
In the 1970s, Amtrak wanted to bring the classic K-Horn to America's rails. While they loved the overall sound, they decided they wanted American train horns to be lower in pitch, altering the K5H from it’s original D# minor 6th chord to a much brighter and cheerier B Major 6th. Around the same time, AirChime had designed a new low profile bracket to mount the horns on. With the new tuning and lower bracket, the K5LA was born, the “L” standing for “Low Bracket” and the “A” to designate American tuning. By the 1980s, the K5LA was the most popular horn used around the world and remains so to this day.