Raymond Loewy by restored GG-1 No. 4935, Washington DC, May 15, 1977. Photo by Herbert H. Harwood, Jr.

(2019212_Amtrak_GG1_4935P002, Herbert H. Harwood, Jr. collection of railroad negatives (Accession 2019.212),

Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807)



Raymond Loewy (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.

He spent most of his professional career in the United States, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1938. Among his designs were the Shell, Exxon, TWA and the former BP logos, the Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, Coca-Cola vending machines and bottle redesign, the Lucky Strike package, Coldspot refrigerators, the Studebaker Avanti and Champion, and the Air Force One livery. He was engaged by equipment manufacturer International Harvester to overhaul its entire product line, and his team also assisted competitor Allis-Chalmers. He undertook numerous railroad designs, including the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1, S-1, and T1 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 Loewy as The Man Who Shaped America, The Father of Streamlining and The Father of Industrial Design.


Early life

Loewy was born in Paris in 1893, the son of Maximilian Loewy, a Jewish journalist from Austria, and a French mother, Marie Labalme. Loewy distinguished himself early with the design of a successful model aircraft, which won the Gordon Bennett Cup for model airplanes in 1908. By the following year, he had commercial sales of the plane, named the Ayrel.

He graduated in 1910 from the University of Paris. He continued his studies in advanced engineering at Ecole Duvignau de Lanneau in Paris, but stopped his studies early to serve in World War I, eventually graduating after the war in 1918.

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. After the war he moved to New York, where he arrived in September 1919.


Loewy in 1950.

(Creator: Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Early work

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 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.


Pennsylvania Railroad

In 1937, Loewy established a relationship with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and his most notable designs for the firm involved some of their passenger locomotives. He designed a streamlined shroud for K4s Pacific No. 3768 to haul the newly redesigned 1938 Broadway Limited. He followed by styling the experimental S1 locomotive, as well as the T1 class. In 1940, he designed a simplified version of the streamlined shroud for another four K4s. In 1942, he designed the streamlined shroud for the experimental duplex engine Q1 which was his last work of streamlining PRR's steam engine.

In 1946, at the Pennsylvania Railroad's request, he restyled Baldwin's diesels with a distinctive "sharknose" reminiscent of the T1. He also designed the experimental steam turbine engine V1 "Triplex" for PRR which was never built. While he did not design the famous GG1 electric locomotive, he improved its appearance with welded rather than riveted construction, and he added a pinstripe paint scheme to highlight its smooth contours.

In addition to locomotive design, Loewy's studios provided many designs 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.



Raymond Loewy worked for NASA from 1967 to 1973 as a Habitability Consultant for design of the Skylab space station, launched in 1973. One of NASA's goals in hiring him was to improve the psychology, safety, and comfort of manned spacecraft. Due to long duration confinement in limited interior space in micro-g with almost non-existing variability in environment, the comfort and well-being of the crew through the use of aesthetics played high importance. Loewy suggested a number of improvements to the layout, such as the implementation of a wardroom, where the crew could eat and work together, the wardroom window, the dining table and the color design, among others. A key feature of Raymond Loewy's design for the sleep compartments was that the floor plan for each of the three was different to create a sense of individual identity for each compartment. Elements of the crew quarters included sleep restraints, storage lockers, privacy partitions, lighting, a light baffle, privacy curtains, mirrors, towel holders and a communication box. The table was designed by Loewy in order to avoid creating hierarchical positions for crew members during long missions. Food was eaten using forks, knives and spoons, which were held in place on the table by magnets. Liquids were drunk from squeezable plastic containers.


International Harvester

The International Harvester company was a manufacturer of agricultural machinery and construction equipment. In 1935 it engaged Loewy to overhaul the product line, from the company's logo to operator ergonomics. The first new machine to reflect Loewy's design aesthetic, a crawler tractor known as the International TD-18, was launched in 1938.


For the 1958 model year, Loewy was engaged to style the Canadian Cockshutt Plow Company's new line of agricultural tractors in the squared-off style that was becoming popular. The Cockshutt 540, 550, 560 and 570 models were all styled by Loewy.


Raymond Loewy's designers influenced the design of Allis-Chalmers crawler tractors. The tractors were described as having stylish panelwork with curvaceous lines.


Personal life, death and legacy

Loewy's first marriage was to Jean Thomson, which ended in divorce. Jean Thomson remained employed by the Loewy firm after the marriage ended.

In 1980, Loewy retired at the age of 87 and returned to his native France.

He died in his Monte Carlo residence on July 14, 1986. He was raised a Roman Catholic and was buried in the cemetery of a Catholic church in Rochefort-en-Yvelines, a village located 40 km south-west of Paris, where he owned a rural home named La Cense. He was survived by his wife Viola (née Erickson), and their daughter Laurence.



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 preserve the memory of Raymond Loewy and promote the discipline of industrial design. 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 philosophy

In 1998, Loewy's daughter, Laurence, established Loewy Design in Atlanta, Georgia, to manage her father's continued interests in the United States. In 2006, the Loewy Gallery opened in Roanoke, Virginia through the supportive efforts of the O. Winston Link Museum, the local business community, and art patrons Laurence Loewy, David Hagerman, and Ross Stansfield. Laurence died of natural causes October 15, 2008, and is survived by her husband David Hagerman. Hagerman is the representative for the Estate of Raymond Loewy, which remains dedicated to reintroducing Loewy's design philosophy of MAYA, or "most advanced, yet acceptable", to a new generation, through design exhibitions, publications, and documentaries. In October 2017, the documentary, "Raymond Loewy: designer of American dreams", originally conceived by Laurence Loewy, premiered to Paris audiences. The film has aired on the French Arte channel.


Google doodle

On November 5, 2013, Loewy was honored with a Google Doodle depicting a streamlined locomotive bearing a resemblance to the shroud design of K4s Pacific No. 3768, using the wheels of the train to form the word Google.


Loewy designs

Work in years or models unknown

  • Frigidaire refrigerators, ranges, and freezers
  • Panama Pacific Line interiors for a trio of American-built cargo liners named the SS Ancon, SS Cristobal and SS Panama.
  • Wahl-Eversharp Symphony fountain pen.
  • Dorsett "Catalina", a popular early fiberglass pleasure boat.


  • Ayrel aircraft, 1909


  • Gestetner mimeograph duplicating machine shell, 1929


  • Boeing 307 Stratoliner interior of aircraft owned by Howard Hughes
  • International Harvester Farmall tractor letter series, 1939–1954
  • International Harvester Metro, light & medium duty vans and trucks, 1938
  • PCC Streetcar, 1936
  • Pennsylvania Railroad, streamlining of:
      PRR K4s steam locomotive
      PRR S1 steam locomotive
      PRR Q1 steam locomotive
      PRR Q2 steam locomotive
      PRR T1 steam locomotive
      PRR V1/Triplex steam turbine locomotive (never actually built)
      PRR GG1 electric locomotive
  • Pennsylvania Railroad, The Broadway Limited (exterior color scheme and interiors) 1938–1947
  • Pennsylvania Railroad, Fleet of Modernism color scheme for passenger cars 1938–1947
  • Sears products, including the 1935 Sears Coldspot refrigerator
  • Sunbeam tombstone-shaped electric toaster.


  • Electrolux L300 refrigerator, 1940
  • Missouri Pacific Railroad Eagle streamliner colors and car interiors, 1940
  • Harley-Davidson components of the 1941 74FL Knucklehead
  • Schick electric razor, 1941
  • Lucky Strike, white package, 1942
  • Electrolux floor polisher model B6, 1944
  • Fairbanks-Morse "Erie-built" (1945) and "C-liner" (1950) models, Model H-10-44 (1944) and H-20-44 (1947), and early Model H-12-44 (1950), H-12-46 (1950), H-15-44 (1947), H-16-44 (1950), and H-16-66 (1950) diesel locomotives
  • Hallicrafters Model S-38 shortwave radio, 1946
  • Loewy Lincoln Continental, 1946
  • Filben Maestro jukebox, 1947
  • 1947 Studebaker Champion, 1947
  • Accommodations and public spaces for the postwar refit of Matson Lines liner Lurline, 1948
  • Baldwin Locomotive Works Model DR-4-4-15 "Sharknose" diesel locomotives, 1949
  • IBM 026 keypunch, 1949
  • Norfolk and Western Railway Roanoke, Virginia station renovation (now the O. Winston Link Museum), 1949; the building is included in the Norfolk and Western Railway Company Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
  • Lord & Taylor first branch, Manhasset, New York, 1946
  • Eversharp Symphony fountain pen 1949


  • Lionel's No. 497 Coal Loader, 1950
  • Greyhound Lines experimental Coach GX-1 (US Patent 2,563,917), precursor to the PD-4501 Scenicruiser, 1951.
  • The International Harvester "IH" "Man on a tractor" logo, 1952.
  • Peace cigarette packaging, 1952
  • J. W. Robinson's Beverly Hills (department store, interiors), 1952.
  • Studebaker Commander, 1953
  • Northern Pacific Railway, Vista-Dome North Coast Limited (exterior color scheme and interiors), 1954.
  • Coca-Cola redesign of the original contour bottle, eliminating Coca-Cola embossing and adding vivid white Coke/Coca-Cola lettering, designed and introduced king-size or slenderized bottles (10, 12, 16 and 26 oz.) (1955)
  • Rosenthal Sunburst modern china set 1956.
  • Hillman Minx automobile, Series One onward, 1956–1959.
  • Sunbeam Alpine automobile, series One onward, 1959–1967.
  • Sunbeam Mixmaster Models 10 and 11, 1950–1956.
  • Scott-Atwater Royal Scott outboard motor made by McCulloch, 1957
  • 500-Series of Cockshutt tractors, 1958
  • Le Creuset Coquelle, 1958
  • Leisurama homes, 1959
  • Dorsett recreational boats, 1959
  • TWA Twin Globes Logo, 1959


  • Coca-Cola steel can with diamond design, 1960
  • Air Force One's distinctive blue, white and chrome livery, 1962. Variations on Loewy's original design are today flown by most of the U.S. Air Force's fleet of VIP aircraft, including the military "VC" models of 747s, 757s, 737s, and Gulfstreams.
  • Union News restaurants, coffee shop, at the TWA Flight Center, Idlewild, circa 1962
  • Studebaker Avanti, 1963
  • United States Coast Guard "racing stripe" Service Mark, 1964
  • Five cents John Kennedy postage stamp, 1964
  • DF-2000 line of modern furniture, 1965
  • Plastic Omnium logo, 1966
  • Exxon logo, 1966 (introduced in 1972)
  • New York City Transit Authority R40 car, whose slanted-front end design had to be retrofitted with guide and guard rails, along with pantograph gates due to safety concerns, 1967.
  • Lucky Strike holiday carton, box art, Christmas 1967
  • Chubb logo, 1968
  • Elna's Lotus compact sewing machine; in the Design Collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), 1968.
  • SPAR logo, 1968
  • Stiffle Lamps Tension Pole Lamps


  • United States Postal Service eagle logo, 1970
  • Shell logo, 1971
  • Air France Concorde interior, 1975
  • NASA's Skylab space station, first interior design standards for space travel including a porthole to allow a view of earth from space, interior designs and color schemes, a private area for each crew member to relax and sleep, food table and trays, coveralls, garment storage modules, designs for waste management
  • Norfolk Scope, hallmark and logo


A Loewy Gallery


Raymond Loewy streamlined PRR K4s 3768, a 4-6-2 Pacific. (Pennsylvania Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Industrial designer Raymond Loewy stands on the front of the S1. (Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons)

The official publicity photo of PRR S1 6100 of 1939. (By University of Southern California Library/California Historical Society - University of Southern California Library/California Historical Society, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58341376)

PRR Q1 6130 pulling a Freight Train. (By William vu - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54435632)

PRR Class Q2 locomotive No. 6131 in 1944. (Pennsylvania Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Photo of a Pennsylvania Railroad streamlined steam locomotive T1 class. (Wilkes-Barre Record, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The GG-1 Electric locomotive. (Association of American Railroads, Pennsylvania Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Interior of a Broadway Limited sleeping compartment, 1949. (By Al Paul Lefton Company, Phildelphia-photographer-A.F. Sozio, New York, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22263697)

AT &SF No. 90 and 90B, an FM Erie-built A-A set. (Mr Snrub at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons)

F-M C-Liner demonstrator units. (Fairbanks-Morse, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

A PCC (Presidents' Conference Committee) streetcar in Cleveland in 1950. (Voogd075, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Missouri Pacific color scheme. (EMD, W. Lenheim Collection)

Published books

The Locomotive: Its Aesthetics (1937) ISBN 978-0876636763
Never Leave Well Enough Alone (1951, autobiography) ISBN 0-8018-7211-1
Industrial Design (1979) ISBN 0-87951-260-1