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Francis Barker Pocket Sundial Compass c.1932

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A Francis Barker pocket sundial compass, made c.1932. With a folding gilt gnomon, an octagonal engraved dial plate, small inset compass, and three ball-shaped feet. Although there are no maker's marks, this is a very well known Barker design, which was clearly influenced by the 18th century Butterfield-type pocket sundial.

Michael Butterfield (1635-1724) was a British clockmaker who settled in Paris in the 1660's. He worked for the Royal court and also had premises in the Faubourg Saint-Germain district, making precision scientific instruments. The Russian Czar Peter the Great visited his shop in 1717. After Butterfield's death in 1724, the sun-watch he had been manufacturing and selling was copied by many european manufacturers.
The Butterfield pocket sundial or sun-watch was generally either octagonal or oval in shape, with a dial plate engraved with a number of different hour scales serving different latitudes, a compass, and an adjustable gnomon. Butterfield was not the inventor of this type of instrument - examples are known which clearly date from before he began working in Paris, such as those made by Roch Blondeau (c.1673), and Timothée Collet. Further details of the history of pocket sundial compasses can be found at the website, page:


In excellent condition, and full working order. The compass points strongly to North. The folding gnomon and engraved dial plate are in excellent condition. The leather case is in very good condition, with a minimal signs of use. The original cardboard box is in very good condition, with minor signs of wear.

Dimensions: Sundial: 52mm x 62mm, (Box: 70mm x 70mm)