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
The first successfully mass-produced molded plastic chairs, these were molded in fiberglass reinforced polyester and designed by Charles Eames (1907-1978) in 1948. They were introduced in 1951 by the Herman Miller Furniture Company and were produced in a variety of individual variations through 1995. This DAR (dining and desk chair) model illustrated has a lightweight structural wire base, often called the "Eiffel Tower". The RAR version had birch wood rockers on the bottom. Other standard models (DAX, LAX and SAX) had more traditional bent metal legs, some with swivel seats. This design was originated by Eames in a similar organically-shaped one-piece stamped metal bucket seat in his winning design in the Museum of Modern Art's international competition for Low Cost Furniture Design in 1948. The competition was in collaboration with furniture retailers like Herman Miller, who agreed to produce the winning designs commercially. In 1946, Eames' original molded plywood chairs had been made by Evans Products Company and distributed by Herman Miller. In 1947 George Nelson (1908-1986) bought the tooling for Herman Miller, which then continued production until 1957. In 1994, they were re-introduced. A companion line series of upholstered wire mesh chairs designed by Eames was also introduced by Herman Miller in 1951. Intended to reduce weight, the seats were formed from welded wire mesh shells, carefully shaped to conform to body contours. This shell supported separately added resilient cushion pads, either in one or two pieces, and in a variety of colors. Like the fiberglass line, they also came in six different bases including "Eiffel Tower" legs (DKR), standard legs (DKW), or rocker legs (RKR). The wire mesh shell seat concept was further developed dramatically in Diamond chairs (later known as Bertoia chairs) designed by Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) and introduced by Knoll in 1952 in both low and high-back models.
These molded plywood chairs with compound curved seats and backs and rubber shock mounts were designed by Charles Eames and produced by the Herman Miller Furniture Company. The original concept was conceived by Charles Eames (1907-1978) in collaboration with architect Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) in 1940. In 1937, Eames had become head of the department of experimental design at Cranbrook Academy, and worked with Saarinen investigating plastics and furniture. Out of these efforts, Eames developed laminated and molded plywood splints, called Eames Splints, and in 1941 received an order for 5000 of them from the US Navy. Charles and his wife Ray produced the order in their Venice, CA studio and factory with the manufacturer, the Evans Products Company. In 1941 the Museum of Modern Art held a competition organized by Eliot Noyes to discover imaginative designers for contemporary living. Prizes were awarded to Eames and Saarinen for these chairs and storage pieces, by a jury that included Edgar Kaufmann Jr., Alfred H. Barr of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Eliot Noyes, Marcel Breuer, Frank Parrish, and architect Edward Durrell Stone. The chairs were shown in 1946 in a Museum of Modern Art exhibition, New Furniture Designed by Charles Eames. At the time, the chairs had only three legs, and problems of stability discouraged mass production. Early LCW (Low Chair-Wood) and DCW (Dining Chair-Wood) designs with four wooden legs were first produced in 1946 by Evans Products Company (Eames' wartime employer) and distributed by the Herman Miller Furniture Company. The tools were bought by George Nelson for Herman Miller in 1946 and took over manufacturing rights in 1949. Later versions with metal legs were produced in 1951, including the LCM (Low Chair-Metal) and DCM (Dining Chair-Metal) models. Matching dining and coffee tables were also produced. The line was produced until 1957, then re-issued in 1994.