The use of the name Staunton in Chess Set Companies

Back in the 1990's, Frank Camaratta started The House of Staunton. Frank was a serious collector of antique Chess sets. He also was aware that the Staunton design is the only one allowed in tournament play both in the US and also internationally in FIDE. He was really concerned that there were no decent wood sets being manufactured and available to buy on the market for regular tournament play. So he started this company, making agreements with a few manufacturers in India to manufacture sets per Frank's specifications. Of course Frank used various Staunton designed chess sets, primarily those made and sold for over 100 years, as models for the sets he wanted made. 

Frank is an engineer by education and was recently retired from NASA. Being an engineer by training, he was very good at getting the exact measurements and such made to make these sets good and playable reproductions.

So, Frank Camaratta realised that the Staunton design was that which is the most popular and approved for tournament play. This is why he used the name Staunton in the name of his company.

From  what I understand, Carl of Official Staunton also became involved in the business of retailing Chess sets made in India. Remember India is where the vast majority of wood Chess sets have been made for many years. While I don't know how many years Carl has been in this business, I know that it is in the neighbourhood of 20 years. Of course, Carl and his businesses are located in London, England, while The House of Staunton is in Alabama, USA.

Other companies also sell sets of the Staunton design, which is recognisable as the tournament standard.


by Ron Suarez