French Tournament Size Chessmen.
Offered here is a set of French Tournament Size Chessmen, possibly by Lardy of France. The individual chessmen are crafted from Boxwood and Ebony. The individual chess pieces are unweighted and unfelted. This King stands a 3-3/8″ tall having a 1-3/825″ diameter base. These sets were produced after WWII, probably around the mid-1940s. The chessmen are in very good condition, with a chipped ebon y Pawn collar and a chipped ebony Rook crenel (shown in the Gallery). The slide-top wooden box is good and likely original. The French Tournament Size Chessmen play and display best on a chessboard with 2″ squares. The pieces are shown displayed on a chessboard with 2-1/4″ squares for illustration. The chessboard shown is not included in the sale. For a complete selection of game timers and our finest new and antique chessboards, please click here.
Lardy was a French chess set manufacturer, founded in 1890 in Dortan near Oyonnax in the French Jura, which closed shop in 1992. In the Post World War II era, Lardy exported very large numbers of chess sets to the major market USA and England. within a decade or so, cheap knockoffs of the Lardy chessmen were flooding the English and American markets. Although not of the same quality as the originals, buyers flocked to purchase these cheaply made, although economically priced chess sets in large quantities. The glut of these inexpensive knockoffs using cheap Indian and Chinese labor eventually forced Lardy to close their doors in 1992.
Lardy was not the only French manufacturer to offer decent quality chess sets at a reasonable price. Makers like Chavet and Drueke also tried to infiltrate this lucrative market for mid-range chessmen. For more information of the Lardy Chessmen, visit here for an interesting historical overview.