A rare sterling silver Francis Barker & Son Singer’s Patent pocket compass, made at the end of the Victorian era, and hallmarked for London, 1897. The case also has the Francis Barker maker's mark 'F.B. & Sn’. The compass has a sterling silver case, and a hand-painted Singer’s Patent type mother of pearl compass card. The silver case has fine engine-turned or 'guilloché' pattern decorations to the rear.
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. They continue to produce the renowned Barker M-73, widely acknowledged to be the world's finest prismatic compass.
Samuel Berry Singer (1796 - c.1875) was a master mariner from Southampton when he patented his unique design in July 1861. Its high contrast design was intended to be much easier to read in low light than conventional compasses of the time. He did not benefit greatly from his invention, the patent lapsed in 1868, and he ended his days living in poverty in Kincardine on the Firth of Forth.
The compass is in good condition and full working order. The silver case is in good condition, with minor signs of wear. The mother of pearl compass card is in good condition, with some minor wear to the hand painted finish. The hallmarks and maker's mark are clear and in very good condition. The compass finds North very well.
Dimensions: 30mm diameter, (45mm inc. loop), height: 8mm