Design 101— 5 Facts About Milo Baughman



Whether you’re a vintage enthusiast or just starting to dip your toes in the mid-century pool of designs, knowing the basics of furniture history makes shopping that much more interesting. Participating in a game of trivia before window-shopping with your pals? We’re here to help you impress them with your knowledge of all things design.

If you’ve perused Krrb classifieds before, or if you’re a big fan of vintage shopping, there’s no doubt that you’re familiar with those gorgeous Milo Baughman pieces of furniture. How much do you actually know about the man behind those iconic frames, though? Read on to learn some interesting facts about one of the biggest names in furniture design!

A Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin chrome base dining chair in style 1188 circa the 1970's. Photo:

A Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin chrome base dining chair in style 1188 circa the 1970’s.

1. Despite the fact that he was very young, at age thirteen Milo Baughman was tasked with designing both the interior and exterior of his family’s new house in Long Beach, California. This task essentially allowed him to self teach himself the ins and outs of all things design. This experience was the foundation of his life long career in the design field.

A 1970's Milo Baughman chrome and glass coffee table Photo:

A 1970’s Milo Baughman chrome and glass coffee table.

2. After graduating from Long Beach High School in 1941, Baughman served four years in the United States Air Force. His specific assignment while in the Air Force was to design the officers’ clubs. Because of his years of self taught skill, he was able to perform this duty and continue to do what he was passionate about even while serving for his country.



3. After the war, Baughman enrolled at Chinouard Arts Institute (currently CalArts) to focus on product and architectural design. When he finished his studies at Chinouard he started working at Frank Brothers furniture store as an interior and custom furniture designer. In 1947, he left the company in order to start Milo Baughman Design Inc. He was right in the action of the Californian modernist movement at the time and quickly became a notable designer in the industry.

Pair of Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin chrome back swivel rocking chairs Photo:

Pair of Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin chrome back swivel rocking chairs.

4. In 1965, Baughman converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Four years later, in 1969, Brigham Young University invited him to create the Department of Environmental Design. He was a chairman and professor while there, and then he continued his career in academia lecturing at Rhode Island School of Design, University of Tennessee, University of Wisconsin Madison and North Carolina State. He stayed in Utah until his death in 2003.



5. Over the course of his expansive career, Baughman worked with several different famous companies such as Glenn of California, Pacific Iron, Drexel, Murray Furniture and 50 years spent at Thayer Coggin Inc.

Milo Baughman chrome polished club chairs circa the 1970's Photo:

Milo Baughman chrome polished club chairs circa the 1970’s.

Interested in owning an iconic piece by the man responsible for these famous designs? Perhaps your collection stays true to the 1950’s, and you wouldn’t want a piece any younger than this Mid-century Floating Top Coffee Table designed by Milo Baughman.

If you want your collection to capture the designer’s career, however, note that Baughman transitioned from his line of wooden, delicate legged pieces like this sofa in the 1960’s in order to design pieces made of chrome and brass instead.

As always, you can take your time studying up on Milo Baughman’s career by browsing all available Milo Baughman pieces on Krrb!

  • Chrissy

    Thanks for sharing! I didn’t know the history of the bench, but it certainly is a very good looking piece of furniture!

  • Peter Loughrey

    My personal favorite is the bench with dowel rods. It was designed in 1948 when Milo was a floor salesman for Frank Brothers in Long Beach, CA. He was paid $25 for a group of designs that were put into production by the manufacturer Glenn of California. The design is one of the rare classics from the postwar period that really looks up to date in today’s contemporary settings. Unlike many designs from that era, no one has yet tried to reproduce them which gives the originals more cache. Glenn of California had a special baked on nitro-cellulose finish that is easy to spot. It has a smooth feel to the touch and mellows to a nice caramel color over the years.

  • Alexandra Riess

    This is a fascinating article. Isn’t Thayer Coggin, Inc. the only manufacturer allowed to produce Milo Baughman designs today?