The Daybed that Paul McCobb should have designed...

I received a complete scan of the 1953 Modernmasters catalog yesterday courtesy of the Ball State University Library Drawing and Documents Archive. If you have been following the blog you will know of my interest in Clifford Pascoe and Modermasters as regards a chair Pascoe designed which is commonly mistaken for a similar chair by Paul McCobb (see A Tale of Two Chairs (or Clifford Pascoe vs. Paul McCobb)).

But there's more to it than that, in 1952/53 Pascoe designed an entire range of furniture in birch with wrought iron bases very much in the style of Paul McCobb's 1950/51 Planner Group collection. This Modernmasters collection included various McCobb influenced coffee, end and dining tables and also, as I discovered yesterday, a wrought iron based daybed (or Lounge Bed as it is referred to in the catalog). It was the Daybed that I was looking for.

I had long suspected that Pascoe might have had a Daybed in his collection for Modermasters but hadn't been able to find any tangible proof of it in the scant period references for Modernmasters I had managed to uncover in my research, that is until yesterday when I received the catalog scans, there it was plain as day on pages 13 and 15 of the 1953 Modernmasters Catalog (see below).

1953 Modernmasters SS4830M & SS4830 Lounge Beds

1953 Modernmasters SS4830M Daybed & TL314BM Coffee Table with TL3120M End Table

Clifford Pascoe designed SS4830 series Lounge Bed's for Modernmasters circa 1953

Scans courtesy of Ball State University Library Documents and Drawings Archive

You might ask why I was spending time trying to find information about a Modernmasters Daybed when the focus of this blog is Paul McCobb's work?

Looking at it in the photo above even I would think that this was a Paul McCobb design (and did the first time I saw one at a Brooklyn antique store). It's a gorgeous piece of furniture and it has every hallmark of the early wrought iron Planner Group designs. The problem was I could not find a single shred of information to back up the seemingly obvious Paul McCobb attribution.

After an extended period of looking for anything to directly tie this daybed to Paul McCobb I had to face the fact, regardless of my personal prejudice, that it possibly wasn't a Paul McCobb design after all.

I already knew about the Modernmasters wrought iron Paul McCobb lookalikes from my research into the Pascoe SD3710 chair mentioned earlier and figured that further research into Clifford Pascoe and Modernmasters might now be in order. So I dug in and went about finding every bit of information I could find.

This Pascoe research yielded some fascinating information. Of particular note is the fact that in 1940 Clifford Pascoe entered into a partnership with Alvar Aalto and that the resulting venture Artek-Pascoe produced from 1940-1947 such classic furniture designs as the Alvar Aalto bentwood stacking stool, also interesting to note is that a young Charles Eames worked for Artek during WWII designing splints out of molded plywood.

The thing that this second wave of Pascoe/Modernmasters research did not yield was proof of a daybed designed by Pascoe/Modernmasters.

It wasn't until a third foray into the Pascoe/Modernmasters field that I did find out, almost by accident, that Ball State University had a copy of the 1953 Modermasters Catalog in their Drawings and Documents archive. This was last July, and things being what they are it took a little while for a copy to finally make it's way into my hands for research.

So there we have it. I have to admit that I am more than a little disappointed to present this information here. Where in other cases I might have set my research goals to disprove a spurious attribution, here, I had hoped against hope that this daybed would prove not to be a Clifford Pascoe design and remain a mystery. Unfortunately wishful thinking is no substitute for effective research.


  1. You never cease to amaze me. Your research is phenomenal. Thanks for sending me this link. I don't remember when I started following your blog, but I should have gone back and read all the older posts. I definitely will now. I want my blog to be accurate, and I always appreciate information that helps me keep it that way.

  2. lovely write Dana said, hats off to your research :).. i m glad i follow your blog

  3. It seems that Pascoe was "influenced" not only by McCobb but by Aalto, his partner, as well. Assuming the following attribution is correct.


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