BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S CHESS SET
Franklin's love of chess is well known (see
Franklin admired the French, and, along with many other famous chess players,
frequented the famous Café de la Régence chess club
in Paris. His set, unsurprisingly, was in the French Régence
style. In Franklin's time, the styling of the Régence differed
slightly from the styling seen today> Changes to that styling came about
no earlier than the C19th (this is corroborated through looking at the set
in Diderot's late 18th century Encyclopédie--click
for image--which still has the old forms). Régence sets were
made in wood, bone and ivory--Franklin's was wood. The wood sets were almost
always of boxwood for both the white and the black sides: the black was "ebonized".
Boxwood is native to France, and was used widely.
The early Régence sets had these characteristics: