A rare early Victorian mahogany cased compass, made by Francis Barker. Although there are no maker's marks on the compass, the 'hidden' hinges and '7' shaped clasps are characteristic Barker design features. The wooden case is quite unusual in that it has a circle inlaid into the lid and twin '7' shaped clasps. The compass has a blued needle, brass pivot, paper card, and a transit lock.
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.
The compass is in very good, original condition and full working order. It finds north very well. The hand-drawn compass card is in very good condition. There is a transit lock operated by a small pin which locks the needle when the lid is closed. The wooden case is in very good condition, with a lovely patina, strong hinges and twin locking clasps.