Gimballed liquid damped antique compass having 1 1/2″ card dial with Francis Barker maritime pattern displaying cardinals and intercardinals on jewelled suspension. Decorated fleur de lys with luminous marker indicating north. Chrome plated brass case held within chrome plated brass gimbals, the base plate with three fixing screwholes, and stamped “PAT. NO. 110002/16.” The whole sitting within its leather covered travel case with dark blue velvet and satin linings, retailer’s details to inner lid. Snap closure on button release, and small leather carry strap.
Condition: The compass dial with damage to edge between 11 and 12 o’clock, and between 5 and 6 o’clock, otherwise with general signs of ageing. The gimballed housing retaining most if its original chrome plated finish. The travel case in good condition, the linings bright. The compass swinging freely, and finding north easily.
Comments: First made by Francis Barker & Son around 1890, “The Unicus” went through several forms – this is the second version, having eight screws retaining the clamp ring rather than the original ten, though it utilises the typical Francis Barker maritime pattern generally found on the earlier, slightly larger compass. From 1905 onwards, smaller versions of “The Unicus” became available in Dennison pocket watch style cases and with various dial designs. This particular gimballed variation is extremely rare and would be designed for an automobile or small boat.
Very much an antique compass for the collector.
John Barker & Co Ltd, was a high end department store in Kensington, London W8.
Dimensions: compass – 2¼” diameter x 1¾” high; travel case 3⅛” wide x 3⅛” deep x 2″ high
Stock No: SI2078