Harvey Probber was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1922. While attending high school, he took a part-time job in a used-furniture store, and was inspired to try his hand at drawing ideas for furniture. Probber sold his first sofa design when he was just 16, for $10. After high school graduation, he accepted a job as designer for Trade Upholstery, a small manufacturing facility on West 17th Street. 1940 was the beginning of American modernism, a time characterized by young designers with talent, initiative, and a willingness to take risks with new ideas. Probber was one of an early band of pioneers in a field that included D.J. DePree of Herman Miller, Hans Knoll, Edward Wormley and Jack Lenor Larsen. Probber established Harvey Probber, Inc., in 1945 and in the middle years of the twentieth century, Harvey Probber became one of America’s leading designers. Though he considered himself a modern designer, his approach to modernity favored exotic woods, highly polished lacquer, hand-rubbed finishes and opulent upholstery fabrics—materials largely abandoned by more radical, Bauhaus-influenced designers. Probber’s designs, like those of Edward Wormley and Tommi Parzinger, were sought after by customers who wanted modern furniture with elegance. In 1947, when showroom space wasn’t available in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, he took his line to Grand Rapids, then the center of the furniture manufacturing industry. In 1948, seeing the potential in the interior design market he opened a showroom at 136 Fifth Avenue, catering exclusively to designers. In little over a decade, Harvey Probber, Inc. became one of the country’s leading contemporary furniture firms. His elastic sling chair and Nuclear upholstered groups were chosen for MoMA’s Good Design exhibition in 1951, and he won several prestigious Roscoe industry awards. Probber is widely considered to be the inventor of modular (sectional) seating, though he called it “nuclear seating”. Probber died in 2003.