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

Travel  (England)

Travel chess sets like the "De La Rue Pocket" and the "De La Rue Stud" sets, as well as "Wallet" sets, are described at the Symbols and figurines page.

Jaques made these "In Statu Quo" chess sets in different forms. There exists also a larger version. This one is an early example, with places for captured pieces, which dates it from 1857 onwards. The pieces are ivory, which was an option I believe. By default they were made of bone. That this is an early set, around 1860, can be seen at the very thin pins that easily bend if you lock the pieces while not completely down. Maybe that is the reason that Jaques switched to pieces with significantly thicker pins. Also the holes in the board are smaller, because I noticed that pieces with the thicker pins don't fit well and only can be placed with brute force.

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  • England, by Jaques, "In Statu Quo"
  • ca. 1860
  • Ivory K 1.4; p 1.3 (without pins)
  • Board 23.0×29.5×2.9 (open)
  • Slipcase 15.9×23.9×7.2

England. "Whittington" travel sets have been made in several sizes. The largest I have seen and is in my collection is 30.6 cm (12 inch) and the smallest I have seen is about 15cm (6 inch), but the smallest in my collection is 8.5cm (7.3 inch). That all measured on outside, with the box closed. Sets here are listed with following decreasing sizes:  30.6, 25.8, 20.2 and 18.5 cm (12, 10.2, 8 and 7.3 inch). A lot of manufacturers must have made them. Jaques made signed sets like these in 12-10-8-6 inch. I 'm not sure whether Jaques mentioned outer measures or the measures of the inner board. Jaques adverted these sets under the name "Whittington".
One could argue that the very large set is not a travel set. But you can take it with you knowing the pieces will stay where they are.

  • England, "Whittington of large size"
  • Late 19th century
  • Bone pieces 1.6 (2.4 with pin)
  • Box/board 30.6×15.1×7.2 (closed)
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  • England, "Whittington"
  • Late 19th century
  • Bone pieces 1.6 (2.3 with pin)
  • Box/board 25.8×12.6×6.8 (closed)
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  • England, "Whittington"
  • Late 19th century
  • Bone pieces 1.3 (2.1 with pin)
  • Box/board 20.2×10.0×6.5 (closed)
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  • England, "Whittington"
  • ca. 1900
  • Bone pieces 1.2 (1.7 with pin)
  • Box/board 18.5×9.2×5.2 (closed)

England. Sets like these are often referred to as  "Railway" sets. I believe because they were sold at train stations. The term railway was more in use at the time these sets were produced. The example here is a bit larger as most of these sets are.

The pegged pieces of 2nd set, made by George Merrifield in St.George style, lacks a board, so it is hard to tell what type it was, but I think it was most likely of the "Railway" type. Considering the size and pin thickness, the board could have been of the size of the "Railway" set above. Pieces of this set ware offered at Ebay in several lots as spare pieces. I asked the seller to extract the Merrifield pieces, what he did. 2 red pawns were missing and have been remade by a professional chess set restorer.

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  • England, "Railway"
  • ca. 1900
  • Bone pieces 1.6 (2.4 with pin)
  • Box/board 25.3×12.5×3.9
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  • England, by George Merrifield, "St.George" (pegged)
  • Early to mid 19th century
  • Ivory K 4.2; p 2

England. I got information that such travel sets were sold under the name "THE TRAVELLERS' CHESS BOARD, WITH CHESS MEN COMPLETE." by W.H.Smith & Son, 136, Strand, London in their book stores at train stations. W.H.Smith were sellers of a wide range of goods at train stations from the late 1840's. It's believed that the sets were made over a long period and the turned pieces changed in later years. Holger Langer lists a similar set signed by Samuel Fisher, 188 Strand. Although the latter has a folding board, but with same leatherette and decoration. The pieces are almost identical, only the lower collars of the king and queen differ.

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  • England, by Samuel Fisher? "St.George"
  • Mid 19th century (sold as 1900)
  • Bone K 3.3; p 1.6
  • Box/board 15.3×7.7×2.8

England. Travel sets of F.H.Ayres are not uncommon, but signed sets are seldom seen. Also this type with folding board in the box has not been seen by me before. So I think that this is a very rare set. Bought in the Netherlands from the grandson of the first owner Desmond Knight, born in UK as son of a missionary in Japan. Desmond Knight was a soldier which took part at D-day landing in Normandy and liberated parts of the Netherlands and several concentration camps. After the war he lived and worked as a dairy farmer in Kenya. After Kenya's independence, he moved to Australia with his wife, where he eventually passed away.

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  • England, by F.H.Ayres
  • ca. 1930
  • Plastic (Galalith?) 1.3 (1.9 with pin)
  • Board 16.5×16.3×0.8
  • Box signed "Ayres REGD" 10.5×18.8×4.7