"chess set", "chess sets", "chess pieces", "chess museum", "schaak"


England. Here are Galalith and Catalin sets in the "Staunton" design, which are quite old and interesting. Galalith and Catalin are old plastics which hardly, if at all, have been produced after WWII. Galalith could not be formed in moulds, so the pieces are turned and carved by hand. Catalin required every piece being individually cast and polished, which  became too expensive at the end of WWII.

The first set is a Galalith one. It is interesting, because the board can be folded and put over the box in order to close it. There is a difficult to read logo at the closing flap of the board. There are, in a circle, a big combined "R" and "M", another big "M" and "URIE" as well as the word "PATENT". Below the circle it states "APP.FOR". I'm not sure what it means, but it could be RM Murie, maybe the manufacturer, but that is a name unknown to me. It is assumed that Uhlig made the pieces, because they are exactly designed as Uhlig sets like the bone "Staunton".

The second set is a Catalin one and made by F.H.Ayres. We know the latter, because of equal sets in a cassette with the F.H.Ayres logo. However these pieces have characteristics of the Uhlig sets. Maybe the pieces were made by Uhlig as well.

  • England, "Staunton"
  • ca. 1920
  • Galalith K 5.7; p 2.9
  • Box 14.0×7.5×7.2
  • Board 26.7(31.7)×25.9
  • Pieces are probably made by Uhlig
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  • England, by F.H.Ayres, "Staunton"
  • ca. 1930
  • Catalin K 7.6; p 3.5
  • Box 18.2×13.3×6.8

England. The "Grays of Cambridge Silette Chess" in Catalin is based on "Staunton". This version has screws inside, but there exist also a version with pin hole connection. I have seen a set in a carton box as well, but I'm not sure that was original.

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  • England, by Grays of Cambridge, "Silette Chess"
  • ca. 1935
  • Catalin K 6.2; p 3.4
  • Box 17.0×9.4×6.7

England. A cheap, hollow plastic "Staunton" set by The Chad Valley Co. Ltd. with a very well survived box.

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  • England, by Chad Valley, "Staunton"
  • ca. 1950
  • Plastic K 7.0; p 3.9
  • Box 15.3×13.7×5.0

England. Even plastic sets from the 50ies are interesting, as this set with accompanying box proves. It is made of acrylic, or acrylic glass, know under brand names like Perspex or Plexiglass. Official name is PolyMethylMethAcrylate (PMMA). There exists a matching board for this set, but at my set the acrylic board is of another type and of later date (I think). This charming set was made or retailed by the Oralite Company Limited in Thornton near Blackpool, founded in 1906 and ceased trading in 1967. They were dental manufacturers, and one of the early marketers of acrylic glass as a dental appliance material. An advertising post card from 1937 states "Oralite: The Premiere Denture material". PMMA was discovered in 1928 and first marketed in 1933 by German Röhm and Haas AG.

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  • England, "Staunton"
  • ca. 1950
  • Acrylic K 7.4; p 4.1
  • Box 16.4×14.6×6.7
  • Board 44.2×44.2×0.9

England. The later House Martin chess set is a cheap, hollow plastic, "Staunton" set.

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  • England, by House Martin, "Staunton"
  • 20th century
  • Plastic K 7.0; p 3.2
  • Original box 17.4×9.0×4.0