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Francis Barker Wooden Pocket Compass c.1850

Francis Barker Wooden Pocket Compass c.1850

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A Francis Barker mahogany cased compass, made c.1850-1870. This type of wood cased compass was produced from around the end of the 18th century to the late 19th century. This example has a typically ornate Victorian compass card design. It also has the  distinctive, delicate and finely balanced blued compass needle, with gilt North and South points. Although there are no maker's marks, the 'hidden' hinges and '7' shaped clasps are characteristic features of many compasses made by Francis Barker. The compass has a paper card, flat blued needle, brass pivot, and automatic transit lock, operated by a small pin and lever when the lid is closed.

There is a handwritten inscription inside the lid: 'John Tomlinson, Pilsley Acre House, Chesterfield'. John Tomlinson was a Victorian mining surveyor, working for the Pilsley Colliery Company during the late 19th century. He is listed in Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire (May 1891) as 'surveyor to Pilsley Colliery Co.' He was also a member of the Institute of Mining Engineers.


In very good condition, and full working order, with just the normal signs of age and use. The compass finds North very well. The transit lock is working well. The glass, needle, and compass card are in very good condition.

Dimensions: 90mm x 90mm x 20mm