A very rare hunter cased F. Barker & Son pocket compass, dating from c.1865. 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 pre-1875 Francis Barker ‘Trade Mark London’ maker’s mark stamped inside the lid (the letter 'S’ was reversed after Barker’s death in 1875), the compass can be dated to before 1875, making it one of the earliest examples of this design.
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 very good condition, full working order, and finds North well. There is some wear to the brass case. The mica compass card is in very good condition and the automatic transit lock (operated when the lid is closed) is working well.