Dad's Chess Set

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Blog entry by DustyNewt posted 06-11-2008 02:42 PM 2292 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My dad, Ralph Kent, Disney’s keeper of the mouse, passed last year. He was an artist, a designer of uncountable products, a lover of games, a terrible punster, and a collector of mammoth proportion.

His chess set collection alone took up an entire spare bedroom. I mean stacked floor to ceiling with squeezeways to access them. He only could display maybe twenty or thirty at a time. They, along with his collections of other games (some dating to the fifteenth century), Disney memorabilia, books, and Irish pub stuff were his retirement fund.

After forty-one years this Disney Legend retired in 2004. Due to severe health problems spanning the last eight years he died in 2007. My mom, left with medical and personal debts is now having to sell off some of his collection.

This set, a basic Staunton set, was one of his favorite playing sets. She gave it to me last week. There are chips here and there from the last 150 years of play, but it is beautifully carved, nicely weighted and feels good to hold. This set will keep Ralphee-Boy within arms reach for the rest of my life.

Ralph's Set

Box for Ralph's Set

-- Peace in Wood ~

7 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4741 days

#1 posted 06-11-2008 03:19 PM

This is great. You can imagine how many people have enjoyed it over the years. I hope you continue to use it (gently) (-:

View Phil Clark's profile

Phil Clark

358 posts in 4808 days

#2 posted 06-11-2008 03:24 PM

A keepsake that, I’m sure, will trigger many happy memories. Are you going to make a suitable board to play on?

-- Legacy Woodcraft

View DustyNewt's profile


690 posts in 4875 days

#3 posted 06-11-2008 04:43 PM

Phil - My dad had over a thousand boards. My mother is looking for an appropriate one for me as she inventories everything.

I do, however, have the Disney set he designed with Mickey and Minnie as king and queen that I need to made a board for. It will have to be about 36” square as it is a large set. I’m trying to devise a combination display/board that can be hung on the wall with a glass enclosure so the pieces don’t collect dust too badly.

Any suggestions?

-- Peace in Wood ~

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 4890 days

#4 posted 06-12-2008 04:01 AM

I have always enjoyed chess and different sets, I have a few of my own. I have in my head for a wall display consisting of half a board with a mirror behind it so it would look like a complete set after setting up half the pieces. The rest of the pieces would be in a drawer below the board. This way you could display your pieces and it would not stick out from the wall to far. I have it drawn out with the frame of the mirror cut out as rooks, someday I need to build it. Too many projects so little time.

-- Ron Central, CA

View DustyNewt's profile


690 posts in 4875 days

#5 posted 06-12-2008 04:22 AM

Rah - That sounds like a great display. I’m thinking of a four shelf unit with a board that somehow slides in th back to act as the background for the pieces. I need to try some prototypes. What you said about time…

-- Peace in Wood ~

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 4853 days

#6 posted 06-12-2008 11:47 AM

WOW, 150 years, what storey those chess pieces could tell of all they have overheard.
What was your Dad’s connection to Disney?

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View DustyNewt's profile


690 posts in 4875 days

#7 posted 06-12-2008 12:33 PM

Ed - You can Google him, “Ralph Kent”, to get his bio. In short, he was in merchandise art, design, and training new artists.

-- Peace in Wood ~

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