A very rare pocket equinoctial sundial compass retailed by Charles Baker, London c1855
Equinoctial sundial having 1¼″ diameter compass with white enamel hand-decorated dial, displaying cardinals, intercardinals and false points, inward pointing arrow indicating magnetic north, and retailer’s details “Baker, London.” Bar needle on jewelled suspension under flat bevelled crystal held within a wide gilded bezel with transit lock. Side-mounted arc of latitude from 0-90°, silvered chapter ring with hours running from 4am across noon to 8pm, folding brass gnomon.
Complete with its correct dark brown leather over timber, dark blue velvet lined travel case, the inner lid with hand-drawn paper table for equation of time. Swinging catch closure.
Condition: The instrument generally crisp, the card remaining damage free, the needle easily finding north, the arc and gnomen articulating correctly. The brass case retaining a good proportion of original gilt lacquered finish. The travel case, serviceable and structurally sound, with multiple losses to leather, the hinge replaced and re-positioned, one catch missing. The paper table inside lid with losses and staining,
Comments: This equinoctial sundial is a very rare instrument, and we have been unable to find another such mid-Victorian ‘pocket watch’ pattern. We have had a Francis Barker example, mounted in a square mahogany case, but this piece predates that, the presence of a magnetic north indicator allowing an accurate date between 1850-1860.
The term ‘rare’ is vastly over-used and so diminishes in meaning. It may be, however, applied to this instrument carrying, with it the full weight of meaning implied. This is most certainly a collector’s item.
Dimensions: 2⅜" diameter x 1" deep
Stock No: SI1631