Lot #188. Antique William T. Pinney Olivewood Chess Pieces
Antique W. T. Pinney Olivewood Chess Pieces.
A rare set of vintage William T. Pinney Olivewood Chess Pieces, These are full Club-size Staunton chessmen, weighted and felted. These vintage Pinney chess sets were produced between 1933 and the late 1950s. The Chess set is Olivewood and Orangewood. The King stands 4-0″ tall with a 1.6″ diameter base. The chessmen are in excellent condition. The captivating feature of the Pinney chessmen is the unique Knight. Somewhat slab-sided and simple, the Knights have an allure all of their own – to some, it is an acquired taste. The chessmen are housed in their original hinge-top cedar box with the manufacturer’s name and address burned into the underside of the lid. These chessmen were produced around 1935. The chessboard and Tanner Chess Timer shown are not included in this sale, but may be purchased separately elsewhere on this site.
W. T. Pinney chessmen were constant fixtures in chess clubs and tournament halls through out the country from the 1930s through the late 1950s. The chessmen are often featured on the cover and pages of Chess Review, edited by Al Horowitz, throughout the over three decades of the Magazine’s existence.
William T. Pinney was a patternmaker by profession, having worked in the trade for over 18 years. After the closing of the Charleston Navy Yard in South Carolina where he was employed as a patternmaker, Pinney, age 56, turned to the manufacture of wooden chessmen. The making of chessmen in volume had interested him both as a player and a patternmaker. So, in 1933, he set up his shop at 811 Maltmen Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, and started a long and successful career producing wooden chessmen. The machinery used for the mass production was designed and hand-built by Pinney. He was among the first U.S. manufacturers to produce chessmen on a mass scale. Prior to that, the majority of tournament size chess sets were imported from England, France and Germany.