Letter of Provenance

The Herman Steiner Chess Set
By Armin & Eugene Steiner

The design for our father’s chess pieces—particularly the knights which were the ‘signature pieces’ of the set—were anything but spur of the moment creations. Rather, they were the culmination of ideas formed over decades of tournament experience on the international circuit. He played with every conceivable variation of the classic Staunton style chess sets and finally formulated his own ideas about how the perfect tournament chess set should look and feel.

The set you see before you is the result of those labors! When you look at and hold the pieces you are seeing and feeling a part of Herman Steiner. And they are not replicas! Each set was created under the direction of Herman Steiner while he was alive, and he personally examined each piece!

The black pieces were made from Mahogany scraps my father got for free from a furniture manufacturer he knew. The white pieces were made from either Maple or Birch acquired from the same furniture manufacturer. All the pieces were turned on a wood lathe from a fixed jig to assure uniformity of all the pieces.

The exception was the knight, which was the signature piece of the set with its flowing mane. This required a special wood-cutting machine which registered to a brass mold that the machine followed to carve the intricate detail.
It cannot be stated strongly enough how fortunate we are that Paul Mentzer had the wherewithal to seek out our mother, Selma Steiner, in 1966 and purchase all the remaining, unfinished chess sets! Who knows what would have become of them had he not done so. We know our father would be delighted as well.

Best Wishes,

signature omitted
Eugene Steiner April, 2010