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Fellow chess set lovers:
There are many posts dedicated to standard sized chess sets, but I collect travel chess sets, mostly of the peg-in variety. Attractive, vintage magnetic travel sets are also interesting. These are predominately pocket style sets of Japanese, German or Russian origin that fold in half and use disk style pieces with figures bonded to the surface. Fitting into the antique category are 19th century pocket sets using flat, celluloid pieces that fit into slots in leather (sometimes cardboard) boards and also fold in half.
Posting any of these is welcome, but please don't be a wiseacre and post a photo of your iPhone, iPad, Android, PDA or other modern electronic device. We want antique or classic travel chess sets, even sets using plastic pieces such as those manufactured by K&C Ltd of London, Lowe or Drueke during W.W. II.
I own one of more of these magnetic and slotted pocket sets, but will not be including them. I wish I could say I had the Drueke pocket set my late father owned during W.W. II, but he tossed it after some of the pieces were lost during his service in the Army Air Corps. It was known as a Drueke Vol. 100 with a wood board and plastic pieces; they were sold at the PX. You can still find them on eBay.
In conclusion, I have limited my photos to attractive, sometimes exotic peg-in style sets from around the world, but I end with eight photos of a Drueke W.W. II set with accompanying material in unused, mint condition.
8-inch Whittington-Pattern Bone-Wood Chess Set (UK, 1890s-1900s)
6-inch Whittington-Pattern Bone-Wood Chess Set (UK, 1890s-1900s)
7 x 5.625-inch Unicorn Brand Lathed Metal-Wood Chess Set (UK, 1940s)
7.5 x 5-inch Ivory-Wood Chess Set (Japan, 1960s-1970s)
7.25 x 5.75-inch Wood-Wood Chess Set (Switzerland, 1960s-1970s)
9.75 x 7.0625-inch Wood-Cardboard Chess Set (France, 1960s-70s)
8.0625 x 6.1875-inch Wood-Wood Chess Set (USSR, 1970s-1980s)
8) 5.75x5.75-inch Wood-Wood Chess Set (West Germany, date?)
6 x 6-inch Sterling Silver-Wood Chess Set in Leather Case (UK, date?)
I've had this one for over 50 years, but I don't remember where I got it. It's had a lot of use. With the lid closed, it's 6.625" by 4.75" by 1.25".
Thanks for posting your set.
That's a K & C Ltd. of London with alternating squares of maple and walnut (I think walnut, but perhaps not). The plastic pieces are nice, hard plastic with better form and longer pegs than most plastic pieces. I think the company attempted to copy the basic shape of the Whittington bone pieces found at the turn of the 19th century (my first two photos), and they succeeded.
These sets last forever, but the faux snakeskin leatherette case begins to wear. They also manufactured one with an all wood case.
Thanks for the info. I wouldn't have known how to find out if someone asked me who made that set. It's good to learn I'm acquainted with a travel chess set authority.
Great thread Bob! Awesome collection! Thanks for posting!
And thanks for dropping by, Chuck. I'm glad others are displaying their sets too.
Nice set, nice view, Crazychessplaya. What are the measurements of the board? Also, what beach are we looking at?Best,Bob
I like it too, Bob. It measures 6" by 6" (15cm x 15cm). The cost is under $10:
The beach is on one of the Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco.
Nice set, nice view, Crazychessplaya. What are the measurements of the board? Also, what beach are we looking at?
Thanks for letting us know about the set and where the photo was snapped, Crazychessplaya. Maybe I'll get to the Canary Islands someday, but for now it's more likely I'll put a few greenbacks toward this magnetic set.
Thanks for the link.
My set. Made in Cuba :)
Thanks for posting your Cuban chess set, Mr. Rodrigues. Interesting tall knight with pointed ears. Do you know if this set was home-made or just one of many? I ask because the knights in the first photo are a bit different.
I see from your profile page that you're interested in chess sets too. I'll have to read through them and perhaps post a comment.
Nice pics, are those all yours?
Yes, and more, BigKingBud, but these are some of the nicest. It's amazing what you find on e-Bay. I would have posted my 10-inch Whittington-Pattern set, but it's not cleaned up yet. There are techniques for ridding the natural and red-stained bone of their 100 plus years of grime, ways of cleaning up and waxing the board too if it's not very worn. Just to let you know, they didn't look quite this good when I received them in the mail, primarily from England.
Interestingly, I own another one of the Swiss sets; it was given to me by my parents as a Christmas present when I was in junior high. It was purchased from The Denver Dry Goods Company, which is long gone. I'm going on 63 and it's still well cared for, though the board has cracked along one of the seams due to the dry weather in Colorado. Also, the varnish is a tad dull beneath each piece, which in not uncommon if you actually use a peg-in set.
I'm pleased you like the photos.
I've never actually ran across a chess collector that collects vintage travel sets, ha. I'm sure they are out there(collectors), but when I first headed to this thread, I thought it was gonna be mainly newer sets.Very interesting stuff!
I saw this keychain chess set on eBay and decided, for $9, why not? The folded size is 3.75" by 1.75" by 0.75".
It's rather striking how small chess sets can get. I have a keychain set, which I also purchased on eBay, but it's magnetic and not peg-in. Great minds ... as they say. I took it out of the clamshell packaging only once to check if all he pieces are there. Your set is more practical, and the peg-in pieces are less likely to get lost.
A word of warning, don't use it as a key chain. Carry this around in your pocket for any length of time and you won't have any black squares left. It's amazing how abrasive soft fabric can be, which I learned from a coin collector friend of mine.
I wonder if I should start another thread on the smallest chess sets owned by players. Yours would definitely qualify.
Coincidentally, posting your set sparked my memory of a set I purchased 20 to 25 years ago at It's Your Move, a game store in our local mall. It's one of those poorly made Indian sets with near lookalike kings and queens, nondescript knights and macrocephalic pawns. I purchased it because of its tiny size with 1/2 inch pieces on a 2.375 inch square board; the case is 3x3 inches. You almost need tweezers to move the pieces.
Though small, I imagine something even smaller can be found in a doll house.
Thanks, Bob. If I ever do want to carry that keychain set in my pocket, I'll put it in a small ziploc bag, which will also serve to hold the pieces that aren't on the board. The board's big enough that the pieces are quite easy to move.
I think sets where you screw the pieces in (1/8th turn) sound interesting.
Interesting, neverherebefore. Is that your proposal or do sets already exist? If it's your proposal, it's a good one, except for the cost of manufacturing. The method of assembly used by Scandinavian furniture manufacturers, sort of a cam system, could be the prototype.
There is a 19th century system of locking pieces in place for transport; it is called In Statu Quo and was predominantly used by Jaques of London, These are the crème de la crème of vintage travel chess sets, but I don't own one because of the high prices asked for one in very good condition.
Here are photos of the set, the pieces with their notched metal pegs, and the set in travel mode with pieces locked in place. The locking mechanism consists of two moveable metal plates, one in each half of the folding board, The plates are perforated with holes matching those of the board. Shifting and locking the plate keeps the pieces in place for transport (photo no. 4); it is released for play.