Raymond Loewy – the Father of Streamlining

Preserved International Harvester Metro Van designed by Raymond Loewy

Preserved International Harvester Metro Van designed by Raymond Loewy

On November 5, 1893, French-born American industrial designer Raymond Loewy was born. Loewy achieved fame for the magnitude of his design efforts across a variety of industries. He is known as the “Father of Streamlining.” 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.

During World War I, Raymond Loewy served in the French army and attained the rank of a captain. After the war, Loewy moved to New York and worked as a window designer for department stores (e.g. Macy’s) and was fashion illustrator for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Raymond Loewy received his first industrial-design commission to contemporize the appearance of a duplicating machine by Gestetner in 1929. He also opened a London office in the mid-1930s.

Raymond Loewy sketch of the 1963 Studebaker Avanti

Raymond Loewy sketch of the 1963 Studebaker Avanti

Around 1937, Raymond Loewy was able to establish a contact to the Pennsylvania Railroad. He created several designs for the company, his most famous being the passenger locomotives. He designed a streamlined shroud for K4s Pacific #3768 to haul the newly redesigned 1938 Broadway Limited. He followed by styling the experimental S1 locomotive, as well as the T1 class. He also restyled the Baldwin’s diesels with a distinctive “sharknose” reminiscent of the T1. Next to the famous locomotive designs, Loewy also provided designe for the passenger-car interiors, and advertising materials.

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