“Coffeehouse”  (Austria)

The first "Coffeehouse" set is from Vienna. It is very rare to have urns on the bishops. I would consider this the "missing link" between Biedermeier proper and Old Vienna style. Absolutely the best and most interesting set of this group, in spite of its damage.

Set 2 and set 3 are both sets which are normal Vienna sets, but both could have been made in Borstendorf as well.

« 1 of 3 »
  • Austria, Vienna, "coffeehouse"
  • ca. 1900
  • Boxwood? K 8.4; p 3.7
« 1 of 4 »
  • Austria, Vienna, "coffeehouse"
  • Early 20th century
  • Wood K 7.3; p 3.3
  • Could have been made in Borstendorf as well
« 1 of 5 »
  • Austria, Vienna, "coffeehouse"
  • 1st half 20th century
  • Maple K 7.4; p 3.5
  • Box 14.4×8.4×6.9 (most likely not original to set)
  • Could have been made in Borstendorf as well

Set 4 to 9 are early plastic sets. Some are made of Galalith. Pieces of that material have been turned and cut like the wooden and bone pieces of that time. If you take a close look at the pictures you can see the marks of the turning on these pieces. It was not possible to use moulds with Galalith. One or two of the sets may be Catalin or another plastic. Catalin requires pieces individually polished. The small size suggests they were made for the toy market, to be added to cardboard compendiums for example. However the first 2 sets in the list are part of a nice wooden casket compendium with pieces that have holes in the bottom, in order to fit over pins on box and doors or the tray that can be used to lift them out the box. One could think that motivation for using plastic is always making it cheaper to produce and improving the commercial margin. That is true for later polymer plastic, which easily could be made in moulds without later additional work. But I believe that wasn't the reason for using Galalith or Catalin. The amount of work with these material is as much as with wood or bone, and I do not believe that the material was cheaper. Another indication is that these sets, in spite of the amount you see in this list, are extremely rare and seldom offered on the market. This is particular true for the small travel set you see here.

« 1 of 4 »
  • Austria, "coffeehouse" compendium
  • Early 20th century
  • Galalith? K 5.0; p 2.8
  • Compendium 32.7×23.7×13.0
  • Board 26.5×26.0
« 1 of 4 »
  • Austria, "coffeehouse" compendium
  • Early 20th century
  • Galalith K 5.5; p 2.9
  • Compendium 37.5×21.3×11.9
  • Board 29.0×28.8×1.1
« 1 of 5 »
  • Austria, "coffeehouse"
  • Early 20th century
  • Galalith K 5.8; p 3.0
  • Box 14.9×12.0×5.9
« 1 of 7 »
  • Austria, "coffeehouse"
  • ca. 1920
  • Galalith K 2.8; p 1.4 (without pin)
  • Box/board 12.8×6.4×3.1 (closed)
« 1 of 3 »
  • Austria, "coffeehouse"
  • ca. 1920
  • Galalith? K 5.8; p 2.9
« 1 of 4 »
  • Austria, "coffeehouse"
  • ca. 1920
  • Galalith? K 4.3; p 2.6

Striated bishops balls are typical on Viennese sets. Also the size is typical for sets used in the coffeehouses in Vienna. I believe these sets were in use in the coffeehouses till the mid 60ies of the 20th century.

The last set is a post war Nekvasil set with the unspeakably primitive knights, made for coffeehouse use or as part of a compendium, considering that pieces have a hole in the bottom.

« 1 of 4 »
  • Austria, Vienna, large "coffeehouse"
  • 1932 (date in box)
  • Wood K 10.2; p 5.3
  • Original box/board 41.5×20.8×6.4
« 1 of 4 »
  • Austria, Vienna, by Nekvasil, "coffeehouse"
  • Mid 20th century
  • Wood K 7.0; p 3.5
  • Likely this set is of a compendium