A very rare hunter cased, nickel-plated brass, F. Barker & Son pocket compass, dating from c.1890-1910. This particular design features a very unusual transparent mica compass card. The mica is totally transparent and very thin, with a hand-painted compass rose, red triangular North marker and circular red South marker. This design was only made by Barker, and first appeared around 1865. From the style of the case and the retailer's signature, this example can be dated to c.1890-1910. The mica card is signed by the retailer, Hennig & Co., 26 Coventry Street, London. The company was founded in London in 1890 by Isadore Hennig and is still in business today as an international diamond broker.
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 good working order. It occasionally requires a little shake to get the card moving, but still finds North well. There is some wear to the original nickel plated finish of the case. There is also a slight chip to the underside of the glass at the edge near the loop. The mica compass card is in good condition and the automatic transit lock is working. The case opens and closes well with a press of the button at the loop.