Image of Transparent Compass by Barker – The Cyclist’s Compass
Image of Transparent Compass by Barker – The Cyclist’s Compass
Very rare silver transparent compass by F Barker, retailed by T & H Doublet, London, c1885, known as The Cyclists compass

1½” diameter silver pocket transparent compass having double-sided peripheral gilt scale open to the centre and enclosed by two finely ground glass magnifying lenses. Delicately set barred needle bearing in the upper and lower lens. Scale marked with 16-wind compass rose, comprising cardinals, inter cardinals and intermediates; scale verso marked as quadrant compass, showing 0-90 degrees in each quadrant, and indicating the cardinals and inter cardinals.

All contained within its original green velvet and ivory silk-lined Moroccan leather over wood case, with retailer’s stamped gilt mark to inner lid: “T & H Doublet, Opticians to Guy’s & St Thomas’s Hospitals,” surrounded by the address “11 Moorgate Street, Bank, London.”

An unusual antique instrument, very well-executed. The needle suspension being particularly smooth and well-balanced. The silver case lacks hallmarks (this is not unusual in the earlier instruments) but it is well-formed and very attractive.  These instruments were made in the later 19th and early 20th centuries and, although they had a certain curio appeal, were intensely practical since map-work was made substantially easier when able to see through the compass.  Interestingly, the manufacturer, Francis Barker & Son, in its 1885 catalogue, calls this “The Cyclist’s” – the spectre of a Victorian gentleman balancing his map on the handlebars of his pennyfathing and attempting to navigate using this compass is appealing….

The silver case in good original condition, some very minor marks, no dents or dings, the peripheral dials generally good, some age marking to the verso. Both lenses in excellent condition with no visible marks, having good magnification and clarity.  The leather case slightly warped but nevertheless in excellent condition for its age.

Dimensions: 2" diameter x ½" deep

Stock No: SI0408

Price: SOLD