Loewy, Raymond

Loewy, Raymond Fernand,

1893–1986, American designer, b. Paris, France. He emigrated in 1919, settling in New York City; he became a U.S. citizen in 1938. Known as the father of industrial design, Loewy is famous for his use of extremely functional, often streamlined styles in a wide range of commercial products and symbols, and his work set the style for functional commercial design in much of 20th-century America. He began as an advertising illustrator and a window and costume designer. In 1927 he opened his own firm, which ultimately became the world's largest industrial design company. His 1934 redesign of the Sears Coldspot refrigerator, with its rounded corners, aluminum shelves, and ease of use, made the appliance a great popular success and Loewy a design star. Shortly thereafter he began creating streamlined locomotives for the Pennsylvania Railroad, work he continued to do for some 20 years. Loewy's designs encompassed some of America's most iconic products and images, among them the Coca Cola bottle and vending machines, Lucky Strike cigarette package, livery for Air Force One, Post Office eagle logo, Greyhound buses, and Shell Oil and Exxon logos. He also designed automobiles, furniture, radios, televisions, dishes, utensils, pens, toothbrushes, packaging, and other items.


See his The Locomotive: Its Aesthetics (1937), and Industrial Design (1979, repr. 2000), and his autobiography, Never Leave Well Enough Alone (1951, repr. 2016), studies by A. Schoenberger, ed. (1990), P. Jodard (1999), and P. Tretiack (1999 and 2005).

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Loewy, Raymond (Fernand)

(1893–1987) industrial designer; born in Paris, France. A World War I hero with an engineering degree, he came to New York in 1919 to pursue free-lance illustration. A flamboyant personality and keen businessman, he started his own international design firm (1929), working for Coca-Cola, United Airlines, Exxon, IBM, Greyhound, and others. Memorable are his 1947 Studebaker Starlight Coupe, the Coca-Cola bottle, and the Lucky Strike Cigarette package. In later years he designed Air Force One and NASA space equipment.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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