Prior to 1849, there was no such thing as a “normal chess set.” At least not like we think of it today. The pieces were drastically transformed from their origins in 6th century India - originally conceived of as a field of battle, the symbolic meaning of the game changed as it gained popularity in Europe, and the pieces became stand-ins for a royal court instead of an army. Thus, the original chessmen, known as counselor, infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots, became the queen, pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. By the 19th century, chess clubs and competitions began to appear all around the world, it became necessary to use a standardised set that would enable players from different cultures to compete without getting confused.
In 1849, that challenge would be met by the “Staunton” Chess Set. The Staunton chess pieces are the ones we know and love today, the ones we simply think of as chess pieces.
From that original set, hundreds of different versions have emerged. House of Chess stock a number of different chess sets - plastic, wood, metal, resin and much more.