A Hunter cased, nickel-plated brass, Francis Barker & Son pocket compass, dating from c.1890-1910. The compass has no maker's marks, but this is very a well-known Francis barker design. The compass features an aluminium compass card with red 'N' marker, agate jewelled pivot, transit lock and English bar needle. Most of the compasses of this design that were made by Barker were unsigned and were sold to other companies, who often signed and sold them as their own products. Francis Barker & Son confined their activities mainly to wholesale supply to retailers and the British government. Further details of this type of compass can be found at Paul Crepsel's excellent trademarklondon.com, and also in his book Trade Mark London (p.120).
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-SGI. They continue to produce the renowned Barker M-73, widely acknowledged to be the world's finest prismatic compass.
The compass is in good condition and points strongly to North. The nickel plated brass case has general signs of wear and use, with much of the nickel plated finish having worn away from the exterior. The lid opens and closes well, and retains much of its nickel finish on the interior. The aluminium compass card, English bar needle, and original bevelled glass are all in good condition. The transit lock is working well.