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1893 patent Barker beam caliper


Oct 25, 2002
Kansas City, Mo.
Here is the rare, as in I have only seen a few in 40+ years of searching, BARKER’S PATENT BEAM CALIPER. This was patented on May 2 1893 (#496,679) and its main feature was a sliding jaw where the typical caliper would have a fixed jaw. This allowed for easy inside and outside measurements using the same scale. In Barker’s own words, “Can be used by any Machinist without special skills or long experience. Will soon save its cost in time and misfits”. Interestedly this same feature was patented by C. Wilhelm Wessman on Oct. 7 1884 (#306,123). I posted about this one on Sept. 21 2021 so if curious you can go back in my feed for a look. Another interesting thing is this caliper was almost certainly made under contract by The L. S. Starrett Co. because it shares many features like the knobs, engraved scales and number font of their #25.

This example is unused in its original box, with picture on the lid and instruction. J. F. Getman of Richfield Springs, NY. is listen as Sole Agent but he must not have very successful as only a handful of these are known. That said, one (not mine) showed on eBay last night so someone else will have a chance to have one.


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Nov 23, 2003
Beaumont, TX, USA
Ah, I see it now. What would be a fixed jaw on other calipers can be moved. But there are two buttons to stop it at each of two locations: one for inside measure and the other for outside. This compensates for the combined width of the two jaws. Clever!


May 22, 2018
The craftsmanship on these is fabulous.
I just fell into a large collection of old measuring tools (50-60yrs) from a company that is moving and they did not want to bother with them.
Most are no longer accurate so I hope to make them into a large wall piece/shadow box.
One of them is the Starrett dial caliper that is like 2' across.
That will be the center piece.
Giant version of this


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