Who crafted the furniture in the Wormser Bedroom?
If you guessed Joseph Urban, you’d be wrong.
Throughout his career, Urban relied upon teams of skilled workers and manufacturers to bring his designs to life. One of his collaborators, Mallin Furniture Company, likely produced the bed, nightstand, desk and chair, dressing table and chair, daybed, and hassocks in Elaine Wormser’s bedroom.
The company’s president, Morris C. Mallin (1888-1953), was born to a Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland, and arrived in New York City at the age of 15. As a teenager, Mallin juggled his factory job as a woodcarver with high school classes at night. His courses in architecture and design paid off in 1921, when Mallin established his own furniture company.
Unlike the ready-made, anachronistic styles churned out by large furniture manufacturers, Mallin’s company focused on expensive and often unconventional made-to-order pieces. By 1929, the year Elaine’s bedroom was commissioned, the company was fabricating pieces for theatre producers and prominent modernist designers like Urban and Winold Reiss.