A rare Francis Barker & Son military compass, dating from 1906. The compass card is marked 'F. Barker & Son, Makers London, 1906'. It also has the British War Department 'Broad Arrow' mark, over the letter 'I', indicating that this compass was supplied to the British army in India. The compass features a nickel-plated brass case, silvered compass card, agate jewelled pivot and English bar needle. The cardinal points are marked on the base dial, while the degrees are marked on a raised dial. There is a manually operated transit lock.
Most of the compasses that were made by Barker were unsigned and were sold to other companies, who signed and sold them as their own products. Francis Barker & Son confined their activities mainly to wholesale supply to retailers and to the military, with the military compasses usually being signed by Barker. Further details of this type of compass can be found at Paul Crepsel's excellent trademarklondon.com, and also in his book Trade Mark London (p.121).
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. The nickel plated brass case shows minor signs of wear. The compass card, needle, and glass are all in very good condition, with some dust under the glass.