A very rare and unusual miniature brass cased Francis Barker & Son compass, probably dating from c.1900-1930. The compass is marked 'AW Patent No. 75' and 'B&S Maker'. Similar in size and style to the tiny compasses found on WW1-era Cavalry Sketching boards, this compass was very likely intended for a similar use - possibly with a Plane Table, or other surveying/navigation board. The compass has an integral bracket and clamping screw which would have allowed it to be securely fixed to a table or board. It also features a rotating bezel and a transit lock. This compass card design is very similar to the 'Improved Colonial, No. 3014' design which was made by Barker and featured in many Barker catalogues from the 1890s until the mid 1920s. Further details of the 'Colonial' compass can be found in: Trade Mark London (p.236) by Paul Crespel, and at the trademarklondon.com website. It also features in Kornelia Takac's book Compass Chronicles on p.68.
The compass is in very good condition, full working order and finds North very well. The case is in very good condition and the glass is in excellent condition. The aluminium compass card is in good condition, with some tarnishing. The pointer is a very fine English Bar Needle with a jewelled pivot. The transit lock is present and fully functional. The clamping screw moves exactly as it should, extending and closing very well. The compass is marked 'AW Patent No. 75' and 'B&S Maker'.
Dimensions: 30mm diameter x 35mm length (50mm with screw extended)
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.