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Francis Barker Pocket Sundial Compass c.1875 | Compass Library

Francis Barker Sundial Compass c.1875

Price £275.00 Sale

A lovely example of a Francis Barker & Son pocket sundial compass, dating from c.1875 or earlier. Although there are no makers marks, this particular design was only made by Barker and has the unique Barker 'hidden' hinges and the '7' shaped clasp. The compass has a wooden case, made from Yew, and a typical Barker design paper compass card. It has a blued needle with gold painted markers and a brass pivot. The original paper label inside the lid includes full instructions for the set up and use of the sundial.

Sundial compasses had been made in Europe since the late 17th century, with wooden cased types known to have been made since the early 19th century. Further details of this particular Barker compass design, and the history of pocket sundial compasses, can be found at the website, page:


The sundial compass is in very good condition, full working order and finds North well. The wooden case is in very good condition. The clasps, hinges, and lid support are all in good condition and working as they should. The transit lock is fully functional. The paper compass card, needle, and glass are all in very good condition. The original paper instructions label inside the lid is in good condition. The sundial string is a little worn, but could easily be replaced if necessary.

Dimensions: 55 x 75 x 20mm

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.