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Jiranek, Leo

Carroll Gantz
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Jiranek, Leo.jpg

This US industrial designer was born in Grand Rapids, MI and known as Jerry. After preparing for college at Western Military Academy, he spent two years at Norwich University, then transferred to Princeton University in 1920, where he graduated as an engineer in 1922. After graduation, he went to work for Turner Construction Company. In 1924, his father died, and Jerry took over his father’s furniture design business.

Considered by many to be the “Dean of Furniture Designers,” one of the industry’s first freelancers, he contributed to more furniture companies than any other designer, including Magnavox, Thomasville, Ethan Allen, Kroehler, Haywood Wakefield, The lane Co., Bassett, Broyhill and Garrison.

He was a past president and honorary lifetime member of the Grand Rapids Furniture Designers Association. He founded, wrote the constitution and served as the first president of the American Designers Institute. (Editor’s note: This claim has not been verified. Design historian Arthur Pulos, in his 1983 book, American Design Ethic, and in his 1988 book, The American Design Adventure, states that the first president was John Vassos.)

In the 1960s, Jiranek founded and was president of the Jiranek School of Furniture Design and Technology in New York City. He was known for his command of technology and design, as well as his talent for marketing and merchandising. In 1984, he was awarded a Doctor of Arts degree by Kendall College of Art and Design

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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