An unusually small example of a Victorian Singer's Patent type compass, dating from around 1865. Tiny in size, at only 15mm diameter. The compass was probably made around the time Singer's patent expired in 1868. The beautifully made mother of pearl compass card is hand painted in the classic Singer's design. The rim of the brass case appears to be gold plated (although this has not been tested) and suggests that the compass may have originally been intended to be used as an insert in a gold pocket watch fob, or as part of a pocket watch barometer combination instrument. Although there are no maker's marks, this is a high quality compass, no doubt from one of the finest London scientific instrument makers of the time.
Samuel Berry Singer (1796 - c.1875) was a master mariner from Southampton when he patented his unique compass card 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. Although his design was widely adopted, Singer 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.
In very good condition and full working order. The compass finds north very well. The mother of pearl card is in very good condition. The case and glass are in very good condition.