Symbols and figurines

Symbols are often used in pocket or travel sets to distinguish the different pieces. The symbols are printed on plates, which usually are the same for all pieces. However sometimes figurines (I mean plates cut in a specific form for each piece) are used. Wallets are a typical example of pocket chess sets in this manner. Mostly these wallets are not that suitable for play, but meant to store a position of interest. Or more than 1 position, as in the harmonica wallets. Storage of positions by corrrespondence players before the computer era was done in booklets with pages like the wallet sets. However, some magnetic wallets are meant and suitable for play indeed. Wallets appear also as advertisement stuff or to serve as chess set to radio lessons. I suppose it was not convenient to follow the lessons with the latter.

Another use of symbols is in sets that are composed of discs on which the symbol is printed or, also often, is cut out. Chinese disc sets can be very high standard and beautifully carved. Chinese disc sets for normal use, including those to play XiangQi, are mostly not that elaborate. Well known are pocket sets like "Schach im Felde" or the "Feldpost" sets and alike, who all have discs, of cardboard or wood, with symbols printed on or cut out. Bakelite disc sets with cut out symbols are also well known. And not to forget the so called "Stud" chess sets. Finally, wallboards with magnetic discs having representative icons, not for normal play but for decoration or as demonstaration board.

Of course above summary isn't a complete overview. That will be difficult as the variety is huge.

Below several examples from different countries and eras. Oldest first...

 

De La Rue pocket chess set exists in different versions. Here you see 2 of them (these are not the oldest version).

161 01
« 1 of 5 »
  • England, by De La Rue (in 2 different designs)
  • Mid 19th century
  • Cardboard Pieces 3.0×1.0
  • Map 15.4×10.1×0.9

The front and back and also the edges are designed by Owen Jones, author of "The Ornament or Grammar".

This chinese disc set is exceptionally well carved.

Does anyone has the missing bishop ?

280 01
  • China, "Disc set"
  • 19th century
  • Ivory Ø 4.0 and 1.0 high

 

The wallets below are all early 1900, except the last one, which is of later date, I think. Most are in bad condition, but it shows that they were actually used!

086 01
« 1 of 2 »
  • Germany
  • ca. 1910
  • Celluloid? 2.0×0.9
  • Map 13.3×8.7
212 01
« 1 of 2 »
  • Germany
  • ca. 1910
  • Celluloid (Plastic?) pieces 1.0×2.0
  • Board 17.2×13.3
  • Map 10.9×14.7×0.7
137 01
  • England
  • 1st half 20th century
  • Celluloid? pieces 2.2×1.0
  • Map 13.3×8.9
027 01
  • Belgium
  • Mid 20th century
  • Plastic or celluloid pieces 2.8×1.3
  • Map16.7×11.2

 

Here are 2 "Stud" sets. The left one is from De La Rue and the right one from a USA source.

346 01
« 1 of 2 »
  • England, by De La Rue
  • ca. 1910
  • Bone pieces Ø 1.4
  • Box 22.7×11.5×2.6
  • Board 15.5×15.5 (inside border)

On the clasp "TDLR" ("Thomas De La Rue")
I have also seen: "TdLR". There are also sets known with "DLRLd" on the clasp. In 1958 the company dropped Thomas in their name. Question is whether these sets could have been made after 1958 as well ?

216 01
« 1 of 6 »
  • USA
  • ca. 1910
  • Enamelled pieces of brass Ø 1.4
  • Box 2.9×11.6×2.6
  • Board 15.5×16.0 (inside border)

 

Sets below are all of WW1 period. “Schach im Felde” may have been given to soldiers. I have it in 3 variants. One variant has a Halma game and another has softboard discs. “Dame-Muhle-Schach” is a common combination. This example is very similar to the "Schach im Felde". All sets have wooden discs with a cut-out symbol, except the one with softboard discs having a printed symbol on an attached paper.

105 01
« 1 of 6 »
  • Germany, "Schach im Felde"
  • 1914
  • Beech pieces Ø 2.4 and 0.7 high
  • Box 10.8×10.8×2.3
  • Cardboard board 20.0×20.0

Variant 1/3
On the back of the box it says "Mr. Voigt" and "8 K O.J.R. 91". The latter means 8th Kompagnie, Oldenburger Infantry Regiment No. 91. M. Voigt was not in the history book of this regiment. He will have survived the war.

203 01
« 1 of 9 »
  • Germany, "Schach im Felde"
  • 1914
  • Beech pieces Ø 2.4 and 0.7 high
  • Box 15.4×10.8×3.2
  • Cardboard board 20.1×20.1

Variant 2/3
This one has a "Halma" game with own board as well. There exiat also a "Halma" onlty version, but I do not have that.

206 01
« 1 of 12 »
  • Germany, "Schach im Felde"
  • 1914
  • Softboard pieces Ø 2.5 and 0.7 high
  • Box 11.1×11.1×2.7
  • Cardboard board 19.9×20.1

Variant 3/3
This one bought in Austria and looks like a cheaper variant (although box is exactly same as variant 1).
Note that the manual is different from version 1 as well.

397 01
« 1 of 7 »
  • Germany
  • ca. 1914
  • Beech pieces Ø 2.5 and 0.7 high
  • Box 14.6×10.9×2.4
  • Cardboard board 19.7×19.7

"Schach im Felde" alike

These wallets were part of a series of radiolessons, called "Op College bij Dr. Euwe", in 1936. The lessons were accompanied with 4-page pamflets. I believe these were collected in a book in 1938.

Does anyone has the missing pamflets/book ?

422 02
« 1 of 7 »
  • Netherlands, by AVRO
  • 1936
  • Cardboard pieces 2.1×1.1
  • Map 15.6×11.1×0.2

The pictures showing the pamflets of the radiolessons are copied from internet.

An interesting pocket set called "Play kit" with small pieces with symbols.

281 01
« 1 of 6 »
  • USA, "Play Kit"
  • ca. 1940
  • Plastic pieces Ø 1.5 and 0.3 high
  • Genuine leather case ca 13.8×10.3×3.6
  • Board 17.2×17.2

And a Czech wallet with figurines.

421 02
« 1 of 2 »
  • Czech
  • Mid 20th century
  • Paper K 2.3×1.1; p 2.1×0.9
  • Map 16.7×10.7×0.3

Under the Board, in German: "Ges. Gesch. " (=Gesetzlich Geschuetzt) and Czech: "Zakonem chraneno", which also means protected by law. It is made by A. Nemas, from Zlin (Czech Republic). On the back is the logo and "REG 11869".

 

Following sets are all cardboard disc sets from the WW2 period in Germany. "Feldpost" could be send to the soldiers at the front. 

214
« 1 of 6 »
  • Germany, "Feldpost"
  • ca. 1942
  • Cardboard Ø 2.5
  • Box 23.3×12.4×1.9
  • Cardboard board 22.5×22.7
160 01
« 1 of 4 »
  • Germany, "Schach- Dame und Mühle"
  • ca. 1942
  • Cardboard Ø 2.6
  • Box 24.1×12.7×1.4
  • Cardboard board 23.0×23.0
382 01
« 1 of 3 »
  • Germany?
  • ca. 1942 or older?
  • Cardboard Ø 1.9
  • Box 18.2×9.6×1.4
  • Cardboard board 16.7×16.7

Next set is a bit an execption as it has cardboard fgurines that should be placed in slots in the board. Note thet in the pictures the pieces are placed in the wrong way. One day I may make new pictures with pieces standing correctly.

undefined
« 1 of 10 »
  • Germany
  • ca. 1942
  • Cardboard K 4.9; p 2.9
  • Box 24.0×12.5×1.8
  • Cardboard board 23.3×23.1

 

Below 2 examples of bakelite disc sets. The right is called the "Services" set and was given to English soldiers in WW2.

130 01
« 1 of 2 »
  • England
  • ca. 1940
  • Bakelite pieces Ø 3.0
  • Box 14.7×7.5×4.7
145 01
« 1 of 2 »
  • England
  • ca. 1940
  • Bakelite pieces Ø 3.0
  • Box 14.7×7.8×4.6

 

From mid to late 20th century these booklets for storing positions were in use by correspondence players.

070 01
« 1 of 2 »
  • USA, by Chess Review in New York
  • ca. 1955
  • Cardboard pieces 2.2×1.2
  • Album 19.5×14.7×2.3

You can keep 6 games in it

423 01
« 1 of 3 »
  • Germany, "Rajah Serieskak" (symbols)
  • Mid to late 20th century
  • Plastic pieces 2.1×1.2
  • Album 19.6×12.5×2.7

You can keep 12 games in it

424 01
« 1 of 3 »
  • Germany, "Rajah Serieskak" (figurines)
  • Mid to late 20th century
  • Plastic pieces K 2.4×1.1; p 2.1×1.1
  • Album 19.6×12.5×2.3

You can keep 8 games in it

425 01
« 1 of 4 »
  • Germany, "Schach-archiv"
  • Mid to late 20th century
  • Plastic pieces K 2.2×1.0; p 2.0×1.0
  • Album 23.7×17.8×3.8

You can keep 7 games in it, but it is flexible

Hard to tell the origin and age of this plastic wallet. I keep it on 2nd half 20th and Netherlands. If someone knows, then please tell me.

420 02
« 1 of 2 »
  • Netherlands?
  • 2nd half 20th century
  • Plastic pieces 2.0×1.1
  • Map 17.5×11.4×0.7

Just some advertising stuff.

059 02
« 1 of 2 »
  • Hungary, Budapest
  • 1980
  • Promotion material; pieces plastic Ø 1.6
  • Board 20.6×15.8

 

These plastic and magnetic wallet/pocket sets can be used for play indeed. Personally I find it somewhat cumbersome. The 2 wallets have commercial intentions. The CD is more a curiosity. 

419 01
« 1 of 2 »
  • USA, by U.S. Chess Federation
  • Late 20th century
  • Plastic pieces Ø 1.5
  • Map 16.7×17.2
121 01
  • Netherlands
  • 1980
  • Plastic pieces Ø 1.6
  • Map 14.4×10.4×0.4
008 01
  • Netherlands, by Epini
  • 1980
  • CD boxes with chess set pieces Ø 1.0
  • Box/board 14.1×12.5×1.0

 

Some modern chinese and vietnamese disc sets for International chess (this is our normal chess) and Chinese chess (XiangQi).

060 02
« 1 of 2 »
  • China
  • 1979
  • Birch Ø 3.0; 1.2 high
  • Cardboard box 12.9×12.9×2.7
  • Paper board 31.9×26.9
453 01
« 1 of 12 »
  • China
  • 1981
  • Wood Ø 2.5; 0.9 high
  • Cardboard box 10.9×10.9×2.8
  • Paper board for chess and one for XiangQi
108 01
  • China, "XiangQi" (chinese chess)
  • 2003
  • Lime Ø 3.3 and 1.3 high
  • Box/board 34.3×19.9×2.1
394 01
« 1 of 2 »
  • Vietnam, "XiangQi" (chinese chess)
  • 2015
  • Wood? pieces Ø 3.3 and 1.3 high
  • Box 14.2×14.2×2.7
  • Board 33.0×36.5
395 02
« 1 of 2 »
  • Vietnam, "XiangQi" (chinese chess)
  • 2015
  • Plastic pieces Ø 2.8 and 1.0 high
  • Box/board 32.8×18.5×1.9

 

Two wallboards having magnetic discs with representative icons. Both from the same magnets factory in the Netherlands.

199 01
  • Netherlands, by BM magneten, a Dutch factory making magnets
  • 1993
  • Plastic with magnets Pieces Ø 3.0
  • Black board with plastic frame 51.1×41.0×2.3
199 02
  • Netherlands, by BM magneten, a Dutch factory making magnets
  • 1993
  • Plastic with magnets Pieces Ø 3.0
  • White board with aluminium frame 51.1×41.0×2.3