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'Time Indicator' Pocket Sundial Compass c.1890

'Time Indicator' Pocket Sundial Compass c.1890

Price £65.00 Sale

A late Victorian or Edwardian pocket sundial compass. This model was known as 'The New Pocket Time Indicator' and comes complete with its original box and instructions which were printed by Bennett Brothers, 50 Ludgate Hill, London. Bennett Brothers traded at this address in the last quarter of the 19th century, selling cards and novelty items.

'Great novelties! Great bargains! Bennett Bros. Grand Christmas fair! 50, Ludgate Hill, December 1st to 31st. Christmas cards. Bennett Bros. are now showing the new cards by the best makers, including the prize exhibition cards by Messrs Raphael Tuck & Sons'. (extract from an advertisment for Bennett's 'Grand Christmas Fair' of 1881).

Pocket sundial compasses were also known as 'Pantochronometers' or 'Magnetic Dials'. The term pantochronometer was apparently coined in the early 19th century by Charles Essex & Co. of Clerkenwell, London. The floating sundial compass was patented by the London instrument maker Samuel Porter in 1824, who referred to these instruments as 'Magnetic Dials'. This sundial has its original instruction sheet, describing it as a 'The New Pocket Time Indicator'. Further details of the history of pocket sundials can be found at the excellent website.

This compass features a white metal case case and floating sundial compass card, incorporating a brass gnomon under a domed glass. The compass is in working order and finds North well. The paper compass card is slightly warped. Complete with its original cardboard box.


In good condition, working order and finds North well. The metal case is in good condition. The paper compass card and brass gnomon are in good condition, although the card is warped. The domed glass is in good condition. The original instruction leaflet and cardboard box are in fair to good condition, with general signs of age and wear.

Dimensions: 35mm diameter (50mm including bow)