Raymond Loewy

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Raymond Loewy
PRR-S1-Loewy.jpg
Loewy standing on one of his designs, the Pennsylvania Railroad's S1 steam locomotive
Born (1893-11-05)November 5, 1893
Paris, France
Died July 14, 1986(1986-07-14) (aged 92)
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Cause of death
Illness
Resting place
Rochefort-en-Yvelines Cemetery, Rambouillet, France
Citizenship France, United States
Education University of Paris
Occupation Industrial Designer
Years active 1909–1980
Notable work(s)
  • Air Force One livery
  • Coca-Cola fountain dispenser
  • Concorde interiors
  • Gestetner duplicating machine
  • Greyhound Scenicruiser bus and logo
  • JFK postage stamp
  • Lucky Strike package
  • NASA interiors for Skylab and Apollo programs
  • Rosenthal China 2000 Series
  • Sears Coldspot refrigerators
  • Streamlined locomotives for the Pennsylvania Railroad
  • Studebaker Commander and Avanti
  • Logos for Exxon, Shell, BP, International Harvester, TWA, Nabisco, Quaker, New Man, LU and the U.S. Postal Service
Religion Catholic[1]
Spouse(s) Jean Thompson Bienfait[2]
(m. 1931–1945; divorced)
Viola Erickson
(m. 1948–1986; his death)
Children Laurence Loewy
Parents
  • Maximillian Loewy
  • Marie Labalme
Website
Raymondloewy.com

Raymond Loewy (pronounced /ˈl/ LOH-ee, November 5, 1893 – July 14, 1986) was a French-born American industrial designer who achieved fame for the magnitude of his design efforts across a variety of industries. He was recognized for this by Time magazine and featured on its cover on October 31, 1949.[3]

He spent most of his professional career in the United States. Among his designs were the Shell, Exxon, TWA and the former BP logos, the Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, Coca-Cola vending machines, the Lucky Strike package, Coldspot refrigerators, the Studebaker Avanti and Champion, and the Air Force One livery. He was involved with numerous railroad designs, including the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 and S-1 locomotives, the color scheme and Eagle motif for the first streamliners of the Missouri Pacific Railroad and a number of lesser known color scheme and car interior designs for other railroads. His career spanned seven decades.

The press referred to Raymond Loewy as The Man Who Shaped America, The Father of Streamlining and The Father of Industrial Design.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Born in Paris in 1893, the son of Maximilian Loewy, a Viennese journalist, and of his French wife, Marie Labalme, Loewy achieved an early accomplishment with the design of a successful model aircraft, which then won the Gordon Bennett Cup in 1908. By the following year he had commercial sales of the plane, named the Ayrel.

Loewy served in the French army during World War I (1914-1918), attaining the rank of captain. He was wounded in combat and received the Croix de guerre.

Early work[edit]

In Loewy's early years in the United States, he lived in New York and found work as a window designer for department stores, including Macy's, Wanamaker's and Saks in addition to working as a fashion illustrator for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. In 1929 he received his first industrial-design commission to contemporize the appearance of a duplicating machine by Gestetner. Further commissions followed, including work for Westinghouse, the Hupp Motor Company (the Hupmobile styling), and styling the Coldspot refrigerator[4] for Sears-Roebuck. It was this product that established his reputation as an industrial designer. He opened a London office in the mid-1930s that continues to operate.[5]

Pennsylvania Railroad[edit]

In 1937, Loewy established a relationship with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and his most notable designs for the firm were their passenger locomotives. He designed a streamlined shroud for K4s Pacific #3768 to haul his newly redesigned 1938 Broadway Limited. He followed by styling the experimental S1 locomotive, as well as the T1 class.

Later, at the PRR's request, he restyled Baldwin's diesels with a distinctive "sharknose" reminiscent of the T1. While he did not design the famous GG1 electric locomotive, he improved its appearance by recommending welded construction rather than riveted and added a pinstriped paint scheme to highlight its smooth contours.

In addition to locomotive design, Loewy's studios performed many kinds of design work for the Pennsylvania Railroad including stations, passenger-car interiors, and advertising materials. By 1949, Loewy employed 143 designers, architects and draftsmen. His business partners were A. Baker Barnhart, William Snaith and John Breen.[6]

Studebaker[edit]

Raymond Loewy's 1930s era Studebaker logo.

Loewy had a long and fruitful relationship with American car maker Studebaker. Studebaker first retained Loewy and Associates and Helen Dryden as design consultants in 1936[7]:[p.247] and in 1939 Loewy began work with the principal designer Virgil M Exner.[7][8] Their designs first began appearing with the late-1930s Studebakers. Loewy also designed a new logo which replaced the "turning wheel" which had been the trademark since 1912.[7]

During World War II, American government restrictions on in-house design departments at Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler prevented official work on civilian automobiles. Because Loewy's firm was independent of the fourth-largest automobile producer in America, no such restrictions applied. This permitted Studebaker to launch the first all-new postwar automobile in 1947, two years ahead of the "Big Three." His team developed an advanced design featuring flush-front fenders and clean rearward lines. The Loewy staff, headed by Exner, also created the Starlight body which featured a rear-window system wrapping 180° around the rear seat.

1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner hardtop

In addition to the iconic bullet-nosed Studebakers of 1950 and 1951, the team created the 1953 Studebaker line, highlighted by the Starliner and Starlight coupes. (Publicly credited to Loewy, they were actually the work of Robert Bourke.[9])

The Starlight has consistently ranked as one of the best-designed cars of the 1950s in lists compiled since by Collectible Automobile, Car and Driver, and Motor Trend. The '53 Starliner, recognized today as "one of the most beautiful cars ever made",[10] was radical in appearance, as radical in its way as the 1934 Airflow. However, it was beset by production problems.[10]

To brand the new line, Loewy also contemporized Studebaker's logo again by applying the "Lazy S" element. His final commission of the 1950s for Studebaker was the transformation of the Starlight and Starliner coupes into the Hawk series for the 1956 model year. The photo to the right actually shows a Starliner hardtop which does not have the "C" pillar.

Avanti[edit]

A concept sketch of the 1963 Avanti by Loewy.

In the spring of 1961, Studebaker's new president, Sherwood Egbert, recalled Loewy to design the Avanti. Egbert hired him to help energize Studebaker's soon-to-be-released line of 1963 passenger cars to attract younger buyers.

Despite the short 40-day schedule allowed to produce a finished design and scale model, Loewy agreed to take the job. He recruited a team consisting of experienced designers, including former Loewy employees John Ebstein; Bob Andrews; and Tom Kellogg, a young student from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. The team was sequestered[by whom?] in a house leased for the purpose in Palm Springs, California. (Loewy also had a home in Palm Springs which he designed himself.[11]) Each team member had a role. Andrews and Kellogg handled sketching, Ebstein oversaw the project, and Loewy was the creative director and offered advice.

The 1963 Studebaker Avanti in a non-standard blue color and wheels.

The Avanti became an instant classic on its introduction[citation needed] and has many[quantify] devotees today; others[who?] consider its front-end styling peculiar. Versions have been produced in limited quantities over the years by a succession of small independent companies, though never with commercial success.

Death and legacy[edit]

Loewy retired at the age of 87 in 1980 and returned to his native France. He died in his Monte Carlo residence in 1986. He is survived by his wife Viola, and their daughter Laurence.

Foundation[edit]

In 1992 Viola and Laurence Loewy, with the support of British American Tobacco, established the Raymond Loewy Foundation in Hamburg, Germany. The foundation was established to promote the discipline of industrial design internationally and preserve the memory of Raymond Loewy. An annual award of €50,000 is granted to outstanding designers in recognition of their lifetime achievements. Notable grantees include Karl Lagerfeld, Philippe Starck and Dieter Rams.

Design Center and Museum[edit]

In 1998, Laurence Loewy established Loewy Design in Atlanta, Georgia to manage her father's continued interests in the United States. Laurence died of natural causes October 15, 2008 and is survived by her husband David Hagerman and son Jacque Loewy. David Hagerman, CEO of Loewy Design and Representative for the Estate of Raymond Loewy, manages daily activities and is directly involved in museum planning. The Loewy family's collection of archives are currently being restored, cataloged and photographed for future events and fundraisers. Fundraising efforts have begun to build the Raymond Loewy Museum of Industrial Design, a 501c3 non profit, originally envisioned by Laurence Loewy.[12]

Google doodle[edit]

On November 5, 2013, Loewy was honored with a Google Doodle depicting a streamlined locomotive bearing a resemblance to the K4s Pacific #3768 shroud design, using the wheels of the train to form the word Google.[13]

Loewy designs[edit]

1900s[edit]

  • Ayrel aircraft, 1909

1920s[edit]

  • Gestetner mimeograph duplicating machine shell, 1929

1930s[edit]

A preserved Metro Van in 2012

1940s[edit]

1950s[edit]

Union News restaurants coffee shop, at the TWA Flight Center, Idlewild.
Le Creuset French Ovens.

1960s[edit]

The USCG Racing Stripe logo (1964).

1970s[edit]

Work in years or models unknown[edit]

Publications by Loewy[edit]

Private life[edit]

Raymond Loewy was raised in Catholic faith.[1] Although he was not himself Jewish, his father was of Jewish lineage,[24] and his mother was a Catholic. Though he downplayed this aspect of his heritage, Loewy hired many Jewish designers fleeing Nazi Germany at his firm.[25] Raymond Loewy was buried in the cemetery of the Roman Catholic Church[26] of Rochefort-en-Yvelines in France.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c FastFacts on Raymondloewy.com
  2. ^ Hagley Digital Images
  3. ^ Loewy on the cover of Time (October 31, 1949)
  4. ^ Coldspot Refrigerator
  5. ^ Loewy Group marketing agency
  6. ^ a b Up from the Egg, Time, October 31, 1949
  7. ^ a b c Hendry, Maurice M. Studebaker: One can do a lot of remembering in South Bend. New Albany: Automobile Quarterly. pp. 228–275. Vol X, 3rd Q, 1972. 
  8. ^ Setright, L.J.K., "Loewy: When styling became industrial design", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 11, p.1211.
  9. ^ Automotive Design Oral History – "Reminiscences of Robert E. Bourke"
  10. ^ a b Ludvigsen, p. 2227.
  11. ^ Bloch, John, director and producer: Agronsky, Martin, host, (February 23, 1958). "Look Here. Raymond Loewy". NBC Television Presents, LCCN 96-507681
  12. ^ "MUSEUM SITES ARE BEING STUDIED". www.loewymuseum.org. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Google Doodle celebrates the 'father of industrial design' Raymond Loewy". IGN. November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Hughes' Stratoliner". Planeboats.com. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  15. ^ "Hallicrafters S-38 shortwave radio made in 1946". Arsmachina.com. Archived from the original on 2005-12-30. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  16. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  17. ^ Douglas J. Harnesberger and Nancy Kraus (July 1998). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Norfolk and Western Railway Company Historic District". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 
  18. ^ "DESIGNED TO TRAVEL; Curating Relics of T.W.A. As It Prepares for Departure". New York Times. June 7, 2001. 
  19. ^ DF-2000 line of modern furniture that combined the feel of home and office, Raymond Loewy DF-2000 cabinet
  20. ^ American Treasures of the Library of Congress, Design drawing for Exxon logo by Raymond Loewy
  21. ^ "SPAR". Raymond Loewy Foundation. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  22. ^ "Celebrate America this July with Gary Kollberg's Exhibit at the Farmington Library". Farmington Library of Art, Farmington CT, July 2009. 
  23. ^ "What's in a name? Scope Arena, Norfolk". The Virginian Pilot, Pilotonline.com, Patrick Wilson, March 23, 2009. 
  24. ^ His great, great, great grandfather was a first cousin of Isaac ben Solomon Ashkenazi Luria, and also Maharal. Loewy himself was a direct descendent of Haim of Varmiza Loewy [1], the head of the Jewish community of Worms, Germany, and author of many original Jewish Children's stories including the first usage of the Golem myth. The majority of the Loewy family moved to Czechoslovakia in the mid-18th century, and further east.
  25. ^ "The Streamlined Designer", November 4, 2010, Jewish Currents. Retrieved 2013.11.5
  26. ^ L’église de Rochefort et son cimetière on the official website of Rochefort-en-Yvelines.
  27. ^ Raymond Loewy on the official website of Rochefort-en-Yvelines.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bayley, Stephen. The Lucky Strike Packet (Design Classics Series), Art Books International Ltd (1998) ISBN 3-931317-72-2
  • Byars, Mel. "Loewy, Raymond" in American National Biography, American Council of Learned Societies (2000)
  • Porter, Glenn. Raymond Loewy Designs for the Consumer Culture, Hagley Museum and Library (2002) ISBN 0-914650-34-3
  • Schoenberger, Angela. Raymond Loewy: Pioneer of American Industrial Design, Prestel Publishing (1991) ISBN 3-7913-1449-1
  • Trétiack, Phillippe. Raymond Loewy and Streamlined Design, New York: Universe (1999) ISBN 0-7893-0328-0

External links[edit]