British Chess Company Club Size Popular Chessmen

Lot #482. British Chess Company Club Size Popular Chessmen

British Chess Company Club Size Popular Chessmen.

A set of British Chess Company Club Size Popular Chessmen, nicely weighted with with green baize base pads. This set of chess pieces has a 4-0″ tall King with a 1-5/8″ diameter base. The original green baize base pads look almost unused. The chessmen are housed in period Mahogany slide-top box. These particular British Chess Company Club Size Popular Chessmen were produced around 1895. The chess pieces are in almost new condition for their age and have developed a very pleasing honey patina. These chessmen were sold under The British Chess Company name. These chess pieces play and display best on a chessboard with 2-1/8″ or 2-1/4″ squares. The Proper British Chess Company Chessboard for this set is shown with the chess pieces in the accompanying image. The Chessboard is not included, but can be found at For a complete selection of our finest new and antique chessboards, please visit

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    BCC Popular Ad

The British Chess Company (BCC) was founded by William Moffatt (1843-1918) and William Hughes, and began manufacturing chess pieces in 1891 until their apparent demise in around 1907 or so.  The BCC attempted to compete for the chess set market against the established firm of Jaques of London. Their unique contribution to the design of Staunton chessmen, aside from their patented Imperial and Royal chessmen, was their use of Xylonite. Invented in 1869, Xylonite is a Celluloid, a class of compounds created from nitrocellulose and camphor. (Xylonite is generally considered the first thermoplastic.) Moffatt devised a method of reducing the cost or producing chessmen by molding the Knight heads from Xylonite. Carving the Knight heads can represent almost 50% of the total cost of producing a set of quality chessmen. In this manner, BCC was able to manufacture a set of high quality chessmen at half the cost of its competitors. It is sometimes claimed that BCC stopped producing their own chessmen around 1903, with other chess activities continuing for a few more years. However, that claim has not been substantiated and there is ample evidence that shows their still offering chessmen as late as 1907. Additional information on the British Chess Company can be found in the following article.

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