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Singer's Patent Pocket Compass c.1875 | Francis Barker

Singer's Patent Compass | F. Barker & Son c.1875

Price £105.00 Sale

A Francis Barker Singer's Patent pocket compass, dating from around 1875-1880. The paper compass card is hand drawn in the classic Singer's design, and marked with Barker's post-1875 'Trade Mark London' logo (with the letter 'S' the wrong way round, denoting that it was made after Francis Barker's death in 1875). The use of the 'Singer's Patent' wording on the card suggests that it was made fairly soon after the patent expired in 1868. Hand drawn cards of this type were rarely made after about 1890, when they were replaced by printed versions. The interior of the lid is engraved with the retailer's details: 'Chadburns Ltd, Liverpool'.

The compass has a hand drawn paper card, jewelled pivot, bevelled glass, and a nickel plated brass pocket watch type case. There is an automatic transit lock, operated when the lid is closed. The lid is opened by pressing the button at the bow.

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.


In good condition and full working order. The compass finds North well and the transit lock is working, locking the card when the lid is closed. The compass card and glass are in good condition. The case is in good condition with general signs of wear and use, some wear to the hinge, and a few marks.

Dimensions: 45mm (65mm including loop)