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Francis Barker NCO's Pocket Compass c.1900

Francis Barker Military Pocket Compass c.1900

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A brass cased Francis Barker & Son pocket compass, dating from c.1900. Although there are no maker's marks, this compass is the 'Registered Dial, No. 355639' model which was made by Barker and featured in many Barker catalogues from c.1900 until the mid 1920s. Also known as 'The Owl', versions of this design were advertised before WW1 in British military handbooks as a compass suitable 'For NCO's and men'. At the turn of the century it sold for 3 shillings and sixpence. Further details of this Barker compass design can be found in: Trade Mark London (p.199-200) by Paul Crespel, and at the website.


The compass is in good condition, full working order and finds North very well. The brass case is in good condition, with wear to the original oxidised finish, and a couple of minor dings to the rear. The dial glass is in good condition. The compass card is in very good condition.

Dimensions: 45mm diameter (60mm inc. loop)

Francis Barker & Son: were established in London in 1848, as a maker of compasses and scientific instruments. Francis Barker produced a very wide range of compass designs over the years, supplying major retailers such as Negretti & Zambra, J. Lizars, C. W. Dixey, Dollond, and many others. The company prospered until 1932, when it was taken over and became F. Barker & Son (1932). After WW2 the company changed hands several times and the name is now carried by Pyser-Optics of Edenbridge in Kent. They continue to produce the renowned Barker M-73, widely acknowledged to be the world's finest prismatic compass.