Raymond Loewy, considered by many to be the father of industrial design, was celebrated on November 5th by Google Doodle on the search engine’s homepage. Loewy was born in Paris on November 5, 1893 – it’s his 120th birthday anniversary.
It’s widely considered that the has revolutionized the industry by creating product designs for everything from refrigerators to cars, cigarette packs and spacecraft. He also designed the logos for Exxon and Shell as well as the former BP logos. He was also responsible for the design of Coca-Cola vending machines and the iconic Greyhound Scenicruiser bus. Born in France, he emigrated to the US in 1919 after completing his engineering studies at the Université de Paris and École de Laneau.
SEE ALSO: Best Moments From The Oscars
Whilst serving in the army during the first World War, he was injured and boarded a ship to America in 1919. Loewy claimed to have made the trip to America with only his French officer’s uniform and $50 in his pocket. After working in New York as a shop window decorator for Saks on Fifth Avenue and Macy’s, he drew for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair and he received his first industrial design commission in 1929.
His first commission was from Sigmund Gestetner, a British manufacturer of duplicating machines, who called Loewy to improve the appearance of a mimeograph machine. Further commissions followed and before the mid-1930s, he opened an office in London that continues to operate to this day.
The work of his design firm was said to be so prolific that Loewy once declared: “the average person, leading a normal life, whether it is in the country, a village, a city, or a metropolis is bound to be in daily contact with some of the things, services, or structures in which R.L.A [Raymond Loewy Associates] was a party during the design or planning stage”. Among his main clients was the Pennsylvania Railroad, for whom he designed passenger locomotives, developing a distinctive shroud design for K4s Pacific #3768 to haul his newly redesigned 1938 Broadway Limited. He also had a strong relationship with the US car maker Studebaker, among many others.