Materials Used in Games

Game pieces are made of many materials. Here are some resources that may be apropos when examining and researching games.

Vegetable Ivory

Vegetable ivory is a material used in game pieces derived from plant sources. Vegetable ivory was used as a cheaper and more adaptable resource for game pieces than bone and ivory. The following resources discuss vegetable ivory:


Ivory is obtained from the bones of mammals. Ivory game pieces are generally associated with games produced substantially before 1900. While some games before and mostly thereafter may suggest that they have “ivory” pieces, truth be told that most games in the late 19th Century and beyond do not include true animal ivory. They are more likely to include “vegetable ivory” and then, in the 1920s and beyond, Bakelite materials. In any case, the following resources discuss ivory:


Plastics pervade the modern era. Many modern games (1930s and beyond) include plastic pieces. These involve Bakelite, Celluloid, and the many modern plastics thereafter.