Robert Propst (inventor)
Robert (Bob) Propst (1921 - 2000) was the inventor of the Action Office that evolved into the cubicle office furniture system.
Born in Colorado, Propst worked for Herman Miller (Research) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he was hired in 1958 by Herman Miller Inc. president Hugh DePree to "find problems outside of the furniture industry and to conceive solutions for them."
Propst's 120 inventions include:
In 1953, he formed Propst Co. in Denver, Colorado to commercialize his inventions.
Propst's work has been exhibited at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Henry Ford Museum.
"Father of the Cubicle" is a misnomer. When Propst designed the Action Office system, so-called "cubicle farms" were not his intent. Propst's own research into developing the action office philosophically was against the cubicle in many ways. The Action Office system was designed to promote productivity, privacy, and health (they attempted to increase blood flow) at the expense of some inefficient use of space. Cubicles are now typically designed to maximize efficient use of space.