Nov. 5, 1983: A Design Star is Born
1893: Raymond Loewy, one of the founders of modern industrial design, is born. His vision of streamlining will shape a century.
Loewy's classic designs include the Coca-Cola bottle, the sleek-sided 1929 Gestetner duplicating machine, the Pennsylvania Railroad's streamlined S-1 Locomotive, the World War II Lucky Strike cigarette package, the 1954 Greyhound Bus, JFK's Air Force One, and corporate logos for Exxon, Shell and dozens of other firms.
But wait, there is more: the 1947 line of Hallicrafter radio receivers that influenced home sound-system design through the 1970s, Studebaker's 1947 Starlight coupe, 1953 Starliner coupe and 1961 Avanti — the only auto exhibited in the Louvre — and the interiors of the Concorde and NASA's Sky Lab and Space Shuttle.
His client list is also astonishing: Revlon, Faberge, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Hanes, Levis, Butterick, Bulova, Omega, Mont Blanc, Seth Thomas, Rosenthal, Frigidaire, Formica, Koehler, IBM, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Studebaker, BMW, Jaguar and even the government of the Soviet Union.
It's no wonder then Life magazine selected Loewy as one of the 20th century's 100 most influential Americans.
Loewy served in the French Army Corps in World War I, immigrated to the United States in 1919 and became a U.S. citizen in 1938. He started out as a fashion illustrator for national magazines and department stores, then started his own design firm. His motto: "Between two products equal in price, function and quality, the better looking will outsell the other."
Loewy also originated the MAYA concept in industrial design: "Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable."
Loewy cut a dashing figure in the international set. He had country homes at one time or another outside Paris, in southern France, Mexico, Long Island, New York, and Palm Springs, California, plus posh pied-à-terre in Manhattan and Paris. His firm maintained design offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Loewy died in 1986 at age 92.
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