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Raymond Loewy: Google Doodle celebrates 120th birthday of the 'father of industrial design'

Loewy is widely considered to have revolutionized his industry creating product designs for everything from refrigerators to cars and spacecraft
  • @bobjwilliams

Google has marked the 120th birth anniversary of industrial designer Raymond Loewy.

He is widely considered to have revolutionized the industry creating product designs for everything from refrigerators to cars, cigarette packets and spacecraft.

He also designed logos for Exxon and Shell as well as the former BP logos. He was also responsible for the design of the Coca-Cola vending machines and the iconic Greyhound Scenicruiser bus.

Loewy, considered by many to be the father of industrial design, was born in Paris on November 5, 1893.

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 initially working as a window designer for department stores, and as an illustrator for for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, he received his first industrial design commission in 1929.


His first commission was from Sigmund Gestetner, a British manufacturer of duplicating machines, who called on Loewy  to improve the appearance of a mimeograph machine. Further commissions followed before in the mid-1930s he opened a London office 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 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.

Today's doodle shows a locomotive bearing a resemblance to the K4s Pacific #3768 shroud design.

It uses the wheels of the train to form the word Google.