Reproduction British Chess Company Popular Chessmen.
Offered here is an accurately reproduced set of British Chess Company Popular chessmen. The chess pieces are weighted and rest atop green baize base pads. The King stands 4-0″ tall with a 1-5/8″ diameter. The chess pieces are available in Antiqued Boxwood and Genuine Ebony or Natural Boxwood and Indian Rosewood. Please note your choice when ordering. The chessmen are housed in a House of Staunton divided and lined Mahogany hinge-top box with a facsimile British Chess Company label. The pieces and box are as new. The original BCC Popular chessmen were produced around 1895. These chess pieces play and display best on a chessboard with 2-1/4″ or 2-3/8″ squares,. For a complete selection of our finest new and antique chessboards, please click here.
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.