Today’s Google Doodle honors Raymond Loewy, a celebrated industrial designer known for a wide range of work that spanned from 1930s automobiles to the interior of the Concorde jet. The image celebrates Loewy’s 120th birthday.
Raymond Loewy was born in Paris on Nov. 5, 1893 to a Viennese Jewish father and a French non-Jewish mother. Loewy is widely revered for his contributions in twentieth-century industrial design, which include NASA’s first space station, the Skylab.
Loewy was behind the look of several early Electrolux refrigerators, Coca-Cola vending machines and the iconic packaging of Lucky Strike cigarettes. He also designed corporate logos, including those for petroleum magnates Exxon, Shell and BP. Loewy designed the iconic Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, and the K4s Pacific PRR #3768, the latter inspiring the Google Doodle commemorating his life.
Loewy, a French officer during World War I, was injured and found himself on a ship heading toward America, famously bearing only his uniform and $50 in cash. After working as a window dresser for various department stores and as an illustrator for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Loewy received his first industrial commission in 1929, from Sigmund Gestetner, a British manufacturer of mimeographs -- the earliest copy machines -- who wanted to improve how his “duplicating machine” looked.
In 1930, Loewy formed his own design firm and in 1944 he establish Raymond Loewy Associates, which employed notable Jewish designers who fled from the atrocities in WWII Germany.
Loewy designed passenger locomotives for the iconic Pennsylvania Railroad, and redesigned the classic Coca-Cola bottle in the 1950s. He is credited with the design most associated with the soda brand.
Loewy was the first industrial designer to be featured on the cover of Time magazine, appearing in 1949. He also designed the interiors of the Lever House in Manhattan in 1950, one of the earliest curtain-walled skyscrapers. Loewy died in 1986.