Raymond Loewy, the father of the profession of industrial design, is renowned for (among other things) designing trains in the streamlined style. But here’s a fun fact: Before he was designing trains, he got his foot in the door at the Pennsylvania Railroad by designing…a trash can for Penn Station in New York City.
That was in 1932, and Loewy of course went on to design trains, planes, automobiles, appliances, logos and more. If you’re interested in both Loewy’s life story and his many design accomplishments, there’s a new book out where you can stock up on Loewy tidbits.
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Back in the ’80s Journalist John Wall wrote an assignment on the Loewy-designed S-1 steam locomotive, which then evolved into a lifelong fascination with the designer’s work. Wall’s “Streamliner: Raymond Loewy and Image-making in the Age of American Industrial Design,” is 344 pages and available for $39.95. Here are some of the endorsements:
“An elegant synthesis of Raymond Loewy’s life and achievements, Streamliner is a splendid story and well told.”
— Stephen Bayley, author of Ugly: The Aesthetics of Everything
“With wry wit, John Wall’s aptly titled and illustrated Streamliner covers Raymond Loewy’s long twentieth century, from the Gestetner duplicator in the 1920s to the interior of Skylab for NASA. ‘Pure form,’ Wall explains about Loewy’s stylish, self-branding industrial designs, ‘does not move the metal.’ With line and shape, Loewy in Wall’s pages moves products big and small, from the Pennsy locomotive S-1, the Greyhound Scenicruiser, the Studebaker Starliner coupe, and the presidential Air Force One, to eye-catching corporate logos, the lipstick cylinder, and the Lucky Strike packet. A fascinating yet unhagiographic read.”
— Stanley Weintraub, author of Long Day’s Journey into War: Pearl Harbor and a World at War—December 7, 1941
“Raymond Loewy shaped the iconic images of postwar America. His sleek elegance branded consumer goods, cars, trains, Air Force One, and his own relentlessly perfected personal celebrity. John Wall vividly brings this design genius to life as a flesh-and-blood master of how we see the modern world.”
— Richard Cordray, fomer Director of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
“Streamliner ably summarizes the career of Raymond Loewy. Relying on a wide range of sources, John Wall provides the most expansive summary yet of the industrial designer’s career. Distinguishing this account from others is its emphasis on Loewy’s most successful design—his own image and reputation as a recognizable brand.”
— Jeffrey L. Meikle, author of Design in the USA
“My late aunt was a fashion illustrator and my first cousin is named Alfred Dreyfus. Symmetry? My good friend John T. Wall expertly reports and writes a fabulous book about one of the greatest inventors in history. Aunt Pat never designed a refrigerator, a car, or a train, but good lines are good lines. This is a delightful read.”
— Shelley Smith, ESPN SportsCenter
“This meticulously researched biography of designer Raymond Loewy introduces us to an underappreciated genius—the man behind many of America’s most iconic product and logo designs. John Wall writes with elegant authority; it’s clear from his cinematic and literary allusions that we are in the hands of a master prose stylist. Sit back and prepared to be informed and entertained.”
— Mike Tharp, former Tokyo Bureau Chief, the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News & World Report
Check it out here.