Paul Winthrop McCobb was born in Medford, Massachusetts to Raymond and Winifred McCobb. His father, Raymond McCobb, was born in 1892 and his mother, Leontine McCobb (Caulfield), was born in 1897. His father's family was from Maine and his mother's family was from Ireland. His father was employed, as of 1920, as a "men's furnishings" salesman.
He knew from an early age that he wanted to be an artist, and studied drawing and painting at the Vesper George School of Art in Boston. He did not complete his course there, and enlisted in the Army as a Private on December 5, 1942. While enlisted in the Army, he was in the Camouflage Corps of the Army Corps of Engineers. He only served for a short time and was released on medical discharge in 1943.
McCobb came to prominence as a design and decorating consultant for Martin Feinman's Modernage Furniture in New York City in 1948. While working at Modernage, McCobb met B.G. Mesberg. Mesberg and McCobb would later be business partners in the Planner and Directional furniture lines.
While he became best known for his furniture designs, McCobb also designed radios and televisions for CBS-Columbia and hi-fi consoles for Bell & Howell, along with other household items. His Planner line, manufactured by Winchendon Furniture Company, was among the best-selling contemporary furniture lines of the 1950s and was in continuous production from 1949 until 1964. McCobb's other well-known furniture lines include Predictor by O'Hearn Furniture, the Calvin Group by Calvin Furniture, Directional by Calvin Furniture, the Irwin Group by Calvin Furniture, and the Connoisseur Collection by H. Sacks and Sons.
The rights to McCobb's designs are managed by FORM Portfolios.
- 1920 United States Census.
- Art Digest, September 15, 1952, p. 19.
- United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946.
- McCobb's application to the Society of Industrial Designers, March 22, 1952.
- The New York Times Magazine, June 27, 1948, p. 31.
- "Paul McCobb, Modern Designer, Dies". The New York Times. March 12, 1969.
- Lasky, Julie (May 6, 2019). "Straight Out of the 'Mad Men' Era, a Furniture Designer Re-emerges". The New York Times.