The Baron and The Baroness

After years of searching I have finally managed to acquire a copy of the Electro-Voice brochure for their short lived and mostly forgotten 6200/6210 Electronic Organs titled respectively "The Baron" and "The Baroness", designed by Paul McCobb in 1960.

Looking back through my research I see that I initially learnt of Paul McCobb's work for Electro-Voice in 2009 from a UPI syndicated article published in the July 6, 1960 issue of the Tyrone, Pennsylvania Daily Herald. The article is an interview of Paul McCobb by Joyce Schuller in which McCobb talks about the new organ he designed for Electro-Voice and the best ways to present it in the home. This was not the earliest mention of the organ in the press but it was the first mention which I managed to find, which pointed me in the direction of further McCobb organ research.

The earliest mention of the Electro-Voice Organs in the press is a February 29, 1960 article in Billboard titled "Dealers to Get E-V Organ Fr…

Predictor Linear?

So what do you do when you are presented with something that you fervently believe to be inaccurate but do not have the means to prove as being so? If you’re me you document everything that can be documented, research everything which is researchable, cross the t’s, dot the i’s and wait for more information.

When I saw a listing for the chair pictured above a few years back citing it as “Predictor Linear lounge chairs manufactured in 1958 for the O’Hearn Furniture Company of Gardner, MA.” I did the mid-century researchers version of a spit take. The listing just had to be wrong! For one thing the Predictor Group was produced from 1951-1955 by the O’Hearn Furniture Co. and the totally unrelated Linear Group from 1956-1962 by Calvin Furniture, there’s not even any overlap between the two groups and they look as different as two groups of furniture could possibly be.

The date seemed wrong too… 1958? How could O’Hearn have produced this chair in 1958 when all of the information I had comp…

Blair Aluminum Furniture

It's important to realize that time does not stand still. For a designer this means that design ideas change, new approaches are tried, new materials become popular/available, in general - things move on. Paul McCobb was no different from any other designer in this regard, his designs changed over time and his design work in the 60's was really very different from where he started in the late 40's/early 50's.
Some time around 1960 Paul McCobb and Directional broke the ties that had bound them together and each went their separate ways. Paul McCobb, now a free agent for the first time in a decade, was at first unsure how he was going to proceed (according to interviews with friends and relations) but soon enough opportunities presented themselves, amongst these new opportunities was the chance to design a group of office seating for Blair Aluminum Furniture. This new group of office chairs was very synergistic with the continuing design work McCobb was doing with the Mut…

Lee L. Woodard Sons 1952 Allegro Collection

The very McCobb like Lee L Woodard Sons Allegro group of wrought iron and white Ash was introduced at the Fourth Annual Summer Furniture Market at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago on October 22, 1951 and was in stores in early 1952. The group was a success and was sold throughout the 50’s. 
It was not designed by Paul McCobb.

NYC20 2012

NYC20 2012, a set on Flickr.

The CBS-Columbia Model # 5110 Radio

This story starts back in 2009 when I first found out about a radio designed by Paul McCobb from a teensy little mention in House and Garden.
"For those who like to travel with music, there's a perfect portable for $29.95. Designed by Paul McCobb, it's about the size of a pocket novel, weighs only 2 lbs. and has a carrying case with shoulder strap."[1]Not much to go on... but now that I knew that such a thing existed I had to find out the rest of the story. So I hit the books, which in this case means I did a search in Google Books, that invaluable resource for the historical researcher, to see if there was anything that jived with Paul McCobb and Radio (I think it's important to mention that Google Books has gotten progressively better over time, back in 2009 it was kind of a bear to deal with).

The responses were few, with most of them referring to the better known Paul McCobb designed Bell & Howell Hi-Fi and it's built in radio, but there was one mystery…

Arbuck Style No. 76 by Paul McCobb

In a recent conversation with Mike Pratt, a fellow mid-century design researcher and the author of Mid-Century Modern Dinnerware: A Pictorial Guide (Schiffer 2002) he mentioned to me that one of the things he had learned doing his research is that we are getting newer, better information all the time and that what we publish, when we publish it, is really only an encapsulation of the state of our research at that moment in time, that there is every chance, given time, more will be revealed. Truer words could not have been said. Case in point:
Back in September I got an e-mail from Wright asking for information authenticating the above items which would ultimately appear as Lot 177 in their October 2011 Modern Design auction. Their request was for "information regarding the manufacturer and date of production" but what they really needed was confirmation that the table and chair in the above image were by Paul McCobb as they had been unable to find any historical reference to …