In 1932 Loewy began designing for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He is shown here standing on the S1 engine. Of course Loewy designed the cowling or "shroud" of the locomotive and not its innards. He has been critiqued as being a stylist rather than a designer, and perhaps there is something to that. However he made stuff look cool. The S1 is probably the largest locomotive ever built. It was slightly over 140 feet long! It was so long that it could only be used on a few parts of the line, because it couldn't negotiate tight corners. Here is a side view of this massive beast.
The large engine, built with a radical new duplex design in it's drive wheels had a problem with what was called wheelslip and was only operated for a few years. It was the end of the steam era and the steam powered engines were replaced with diesels. Loewy designed those too. Here is a streamlined design below, the T1 called the sharknose.
Loewy even reworked the designs and paint job of an electric engine called the GG1 for General Electric.
Loewy also designed, or "styled" the Farmall tractor for International Harvester. Below is one of those.
All of these objects bear a common aesthetic. They are powerful and blunt looking but elongated and swept back in appearance. They look tough and capable, and are simplified and slab sided.
Design is important because it is the intersection of aesthetics and our daily world. We have to look at the products of the industrial designer everyday. They can make our environment fascinating and beautiful, or oppressive and inhuman. The ideas that these designers use are the same in many instances as those that artists use. I think there is a little made argument for better art education in pour schools, based on this. If the general public is uninformed or disinterested in design, they will choose to fill the world about us with ugly products. A population with a little trained appreciation for design will want to acquire and surround themselves with beautifully designed things. When we teach our children art in school, the quality of that education may ultimately determine the appearance of the things we will have to see about us. Nowhere is this more true than in architecture and consumer and household products.,
Tomorrow, refrigerators, cars and radios.