A rare Singer's Patent type Francis Barker & Son pocket compass, dating from c.1875. The compass card design is based on the classic Singer's Patent design of the 1860s. With a fine hand-painted Mother of Pearl compass card, jewelled pivot, and transit lock. The compass glass is marked in red with the four cardinal points. The brass case has a blackened or oxidised finish, which is slightly worn to the exterior, but in very good condition on the interior of the lid.
Many of the compasses made by Francis Barker were unsigned and were sold to retailers, who often signed and sold them on as their own products. But this compass is signed on the card by 'F. Barker & Son Makers, London', and also has the pre-1875 Barker 'Trade Mark London' logo stamped on the exterior of the case.
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. Further details of Barker compasses can be found at trademarklondon.com, and also in Paul Crepsel's excellent bookTrade Mark London (available to view online).
The compass is in very good condition, full working order, and points strongly to North. The brass case is in very good condition, with some minor signs of wear, and much of the original black oxidised finish still present. The oxidised finish to the interior of the lid is very well preserved. The lid opens and closes perfectly. The mother of pearl compass card, jewelled pivot, and glass are all in very good condition. The transit lock is working very well.