What Drueke set am I looking for?


The Carrom company is not producing any chess sets at all, as far as I can tell.  Not plastic, not wood.  It seems to be a case of purchasing the Drueke line, then quickly phasing it out.  Call them or check out their web site before you make a cross-state trip.

One of the Drueke descendants has made some new old-style wood chess boards, and offers them occasionally on Ebay at a premium price. 


Yes. All I see on the site for chess is a couple of travel sets, including the one in a magnetic box with plastic pieces


Yes, how often do we see that happen?  A company gains a reputation for a superior product with hard work and quality.  They sell out their good name to some big corporation who milks the name for all they can get, then throws the bones on the ground and walks away with the profits, leaving nothing behind of the product.  There are a lot of products that rely on the name long after the initial quality is abandoned.


The replacement plastic set simply was of inferior design. Bad call to abandon the good one!

You'd think just continuing with the original would have been just as good and easier since it all was in place?


The 2.5 inch rosewood chess set on the Carrom closeout site is available other places as well (Amazon, for example).  It's not a bad set, and it's what they sold bundled with the 15 inch wood chessboard . . .

There's an ebay seller who has a larger Drueke wood chess set (3 inch king) listed for about the same price:


I have this set, and it's actually very nice.  Well worth the price.



Well, I contacted the seller of the no. 36 set currently on ebay. They state that there is no marbling in the White pieces. I am starting to think that the no. 35 had the marbling, and the no. 36 does not. This is just an assumption though. Any thoughts?

wiremando wrote:

I am starting to think that the no. 35 had the marbling, and the no. 36 does not. This is just an assumption though. Any thoughts?

I can try to take a picture of the "marbling" of the #35 set, but it's so faint that it will be difficult to show.  Unless you look really closely, it just looks like beige plastic and it shows up more on some pieces than others.  I don't think it's intended to be "marbling" but rather just incomplete mixing of the color in the plastic matrix.


No worries on the pics, add I know what it looks like. I am trying to figure out the difference in the 35 and 36 though, since they have the same size King, and there is a 35 h. I'm not sure there is a 36 h. Is it really only weight difference, and if so, what are the details with them. On a separate note, I saw the primer that came with the sets and it does mention a 5" set.


I suppose it depends on what you want it for.  Standard tournament king size is 3-3/8 or 3-3/4", sometimes 3-1/2" but not often.  The "h" is the heavy set which must be quad weights because my standard #35 is triple weighted and plenty heavy.  The tipping angle is slightly greater than 60° (depends slightly on the piece) with the triple weights.  The problem with taller pieces, especially Q and K, is that they tip over more easily; and while tipping isn't normally an issue in tournament play, it does put them more at risk for blitz chess and being knocked onto the floor and damaged.

Apparently Drueke made several very similar if not identical series of Staunton sets judging from the second picture above by @goldendog.  His set is simply called "Player's Choice" and came in a large box with individual cardboard separators for each piece, while mine is "Simulated Wood Chessmen No. 35" in a simple, smaller cardboard box with loose pieces.  The #36 set came in a wood box with sliding top which may be the only difference.  Except for the "h" designation for "heavy", I think that perhaps the molds are all the same with only weight and packaging differences.

I have played with another set (not Drueke) that is quad-weighted and it's "OK" but I didn't particluarly like the feel of the pieces or the design which was a bit "fatter" than normal.

I do not take my #35 set to tournaments for fear of loss or damage (the black Q has a tiny chip on the crown).

If you're looking for a reasonable alternate to paying through the nose for a "collector" set (as the auction people like to call them to inflate prices), I found the Paladin set from Chesshouse to be nearly identical to the #35 and it is my tournament set.  There are some very minor differences but unless you compare them side by side, you'd probably never notice:

The Paladin K is about 1/8" taller, mainly the cross height

The Paladin Q has flatter flutes on the crown as seen from the top

The Paladin N has fatter "cheeks" and a flatter top of the head, same weight

The Paladin R is essentially the same, minus the "Dreuke" in the top and a couple of grams lighter

The Paladin B is virtually identical except the slot is cut out all the way to the bottom

The Paladin P is 1/16" taller and slightly heavier

The bases are all very slightly more beveled on the #35 set but you'd never notice unless side by side.  The molding seams on the Paladin set are slightly more prominent while the #35 set seams are all but invisible and nicely finished.

As far as weights, my #35 all have three round metal "slugs" for weights, varying slightly in diameter to match the base diameter of the pieces.  The pieces weigh around 45 grams except for pawns which are only 14 grams so they are possibly only double weighted.  Interestingly the Paladin set pawns are 24 grams.


My first intention for the pieces is to replace my dads missing and damaged pieces. Secondly, if they could be had for a decent price, a set for my own tournent play (decent but not perfect condition). If I ran across a very nice set, I might be tempted to purchase them as a collectors item. Thanks for the info on the various sets. As my dad's has the marbling, I would want any replacements to match. I know he had missing and damaged black pieces, and need to check on the white. I sure hope they are not the 5", as those seem to be virtually non existent.

mldavis617 wrote:

I don't think I'd call it "grain."  You can see a very faint marble-like effect in the bases of the light pieces if you look carefully, but unless you really look closely it appears as one-color.  I don't see any such grain in the black pieces.  The pieces are molded in halves as you can see from the seams, but the seams have been very carefully smoothed and are not at all apparent.  They are triple-weighted with three metal slugs in each piece.  The finish is very slightly matt and not as shiny as most molded plastic.  Light pieces are "natural" or a light beige color (camel?).

For my little No. 32, there's no pattern in the pieces. Just that smooth, matte, maple hue.

Very cute set too, with those mini-knights. Satisfactorily weighted, for its size.

Bronco70 wrote:

Looks like Carrom bought them and there still in Michigan .


Mmm looks like I might make a road trip across the state ( maybe not..unless they have a small museum. They have pics of old games the made in the past )

"In January 1987, the Drueke family sold the business to a group of young businessmen who immediately renovated the factory. But in 1992, the Drueke division was resold to the Carrom Co. of Ludington who retained the Drueke name and reputation."


goldendog wrote:

"In January 1987, the Drueke family sold the business to a group of young businessmen who immediately renovated the factory. But in 1992, the Drueke division was resold to the Carrom Co. of Ludington who retained the Drueke name and reputation."

Unfortunately, they discontinued using the molds for the plastic sets and bailed out of the plastic chess set market, leaving us with somewhat inferior imported replicas to be obtained elsewhere.  I'm sure there are plastic sets out there, somewhere, that are as well made, but I've yet to find them.  Admittedly, I have not risked money on the more expensive plastic sets, but most are designer or non-standard sets.  My #35 set was less than $10 "back in the day" and they are not leaving my chessboard.


Nice article Goldendog. Sounds like a lot of servicemen got sets and games. 5,000 games made a day during WW2. Wow


I have two complete Drueke Sets No. 35 single weighted (they came in double and triple weighted) sumulated wood, at least that is what is says on the box that I'm reading rite now.

They are black and yellow

The King is 3 5/8 tall - base = 1 5/8

In my opinion they are the best plastic set ever made. They have played humdreds of games, hit the floor no telling how many times, and still look new to me. I will play with other sets but I sure like these the best. Why Carrom would buy the place and not make what every chess player is wanting, beats the snot out of me.


That is interesting, @RealBulldozer.  Visually, the sets appear to be the same between the #35, #36 and Player's Choice.  The "h" designation no doubt goes with the extra-weighted sets.  But my set is a simple #35 in a small cardboard box and it is definitely "triple" weighted - at least it does have three round metal slugs in each piece, and pieces, as I mentioned above are around 45 grams, except pawns.

So your comment about single, double and triple is puzzling.  If my plain, undesignated set is "triple" weighted, then how did they differentiate which sets are single, double and triple?  And if my set does not show "h" for "heavy", then what are heavy sets, and how were the lower-weighted sets designated.  Perhaps they sold cheaper sets as "starter" or club sets in bulk and left out the weights, or perhaps the weight differences are the result of chronological variations and subsequent cost cutting.

Anyway, it's very interesting.  I've never seen either a "h" heavy set or a set with fewer than three weights which seemed to be the standard at the time I bought mine back in the late '60's.


Hi midavis good to talk with you again. The box is 9 1/4 X 5 1/4 X 2 3/8, it says No. 35, and they came just loose in the box. But I do remember when I bought them from the old (Chess House) that you could buy them double or triple weighted. Do you remember buying triple weighted, if not, perhaps someone at the factory put them in the wrong box? But mine only have one steel disk in each piece. Sure wish I'd have bought 500 sets. 


Exactly the same box dimensions as mine.  I do not recall ordering anything but the #35 set, so no triple weight or any such designation.  Maybe I got lucky, but it's a real quality set.  The main advantage over the Paladin set from Chesshouse is that the mold seams are very smooth - almost as if they are hand finished.  The seams on the Paladin are not generally visible unless you look closely, but you can feel them when you move a piece.  That's not to say it isn't a nice set.  It just lacks the polish and finish quality of the Drueke #35.


I just posted and it did not appear


Ok I'll try again Mr. CSI

The Rooks - I can find no seams at all

The Knights - are made in two pieces the base has no seams but the top does

The Kings, Queens, and Biships - the bases and stems no seams but again the tops do. I am sure they are made in one piece, so I think you are correct in thinging they were polished. What a crime that craftmanship like that is no longer with us. But would I pay the kind of money for a plastic set that these sets are going for, no way. You can buy a wood set for less. By the way Drueke started out making wood sets, but I don't think I have ever seen one. If someone has an old set post a photo of it.