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Brass telescope marked F Barker & Co

Date: late 19th Century
Overall: 70 x 715 mm, 1402 g, 70 mm
Medium: Brass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Amanda Downes
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Telescope
Object No: V00047894
Related Place:London, Auckland,

User Terms

    A brass telescope believed to have belonged to a Burns Philp Captain from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.
    SignificanceThis is an excellent example of a telescope used by the Burns Philp shipping line, and produced by the renowned London instrument makers Francis Barker & Sons.
    HistoryThis brass telescope is believed to have belonged to a Burns Philp Captain. The telescope has a lens cap, leather covering and is engraved 'Made by F. Barker & Co. London for Burns Auckland'.

    Francis Barker was widley known for his manufacture of compasses from the 1820s to the 1870s. The majority of his items were sold unsigned to other instrument shops, however he also sold other shops' instruments which he did not manufacture, such as telescopes. Thus, this telescope may have been manufactured elsewhere and marked by Barker & Co.

    Francis Barker had worked for other instrument makers in London from the 1820s and in 1841 he established the company of F. Barker & Son. In the same year he established a partnership with Richard Groves as makers of sundials and maritime compasses.

    Francis Barker died in 1875 and his son, Francis Jnr., sold his share of the company to some of his brothers shortly afterwards and moved to Australia where he set up a bottle factory. Francis Jnr. died on 7 December 1887 and was buried at Broken Hill.

    F. Barker & Son continued to prosper under Barker's sons, nephews and grandsons well into the twentieth century. The company ran into financial promblems during the Depression in 1932, and it was taken over and renamed F. Barker & Son (1932) Limited. This new company benefitted from the business created by the Second World War. F. Barker & Son (1932) Limited changed hands several times over the decades and the name continued to the present day in a prismatic compass company that still bear the Francis Barker name.

    The leather cases for Barker insturments were made by a family relative, Thomas Weeks.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Brass telescope marked F Barker & Co

    Assigned title: Brass telescope marked F Barker & Co

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