Paul McCobb was born in Medford, Mass., in 1917. Like many icons of modern design, McCobb attended art school (in his case this was Vesper George in Boston) but didn’t graduate. Instead he enlisted in the Army almost a year to the day after Pearl Harbor in December of 1942. McCobb served in the military for only a short time, being discharged a few months after enlisting. His dismissal turned out to be an act of fate for his design career.
Relocating to New York, McCobb got a job at Martin Feinman’s Modernage Furniture and met B.G. Mesberg who eventually became his partner in design. The firm after his namesake, Paul McCobb Design Associates, was founded only two years after McCobb arrived in the Big Apple and by 1948, his career started to take off.
McCobb’s straightforward, unembellished designs were in every living room in America by 1952, even if it was just on the TV set, after he designed the set of The Today Show. The country followed suit soon after, making McCobb often cited for introducing the masses to high design. His Planner Group, Directional and Perimeter furniture lines made McCobb a bonafide household name in the middle class suburbs of the 1950s. Also during this period of time, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC awarded McCobb with their prestigious Good Design Award a total of five times.
In addition to furniture design, McCobb created wallpaper, lighting, TV sets, radios and ceramic dish ware. As his career was winding down, he focused on designing for corporations including Singer and Columbia Records.
Paul McCobb passed away in 1969.