Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy

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Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy
Posted by Jones1945 on Friday, September 7, 2018 10:33 AM
I am reviewing the history of NYC streamliner in the 1930s and 40s recently. It seems to me that Henry Dreyfuss had a better relationship between him and New York Central and his works achieved greater success than almost everything Raymond Loewy designed for PRR. From the Mercury in mid-30s, the 20th Century and the Empire State Express in 1938 and 1941, Henry Dreyfuss successfully, with the support from NYCRR, created some World’s most famous streamliner. His designs for NYC was classic, popular, timeless and commercially successful.

On the other side, Raymond Loewy's designs for PRR were also praised by the public but unlike Henry Dreyfuss, PRR never widely use his design. Example like the Streamlined K4s #3768, it was one of a kind and never duplicated to form a fleet like the Dreyfuss Hudson J3a, it didn’t even constantly haul the Broadway Limited which was one of the main reasons she was built for. Another example was “The Big Engine” S1 #6100, it looks fantastic and impressive, definitely a great publicity success, but the engine itself wasn’t an overall successful Class, let alone build up a fleet of her.
Around the late-30s, beside the two orphans S1 and K4s #3768, the “Unit Train” project, led by Raymond Loewy was canceled and replaced by the “Fleet of Modernism” (F.O.M) in 1938, but even the F.O.M didn’t last longer than 10 years which was retired gradually since 1945.
 PRR invited Loewy to design the appearance of T1 4-4-4-4, but due to many unfortunate reasons, T1 only achieved limited success and Raymond Loewy’s original design was heavily altered, not more than one year after the trains were put in service, to a point that they didn’t even look like a Loewy's design anymore, beat up and dirty. When 50 production T1 started a retreat from passenger service in 1949, Loewy's iconic work - PRR S1 #6100 was sent to the torch.
The last thing I remember was his “Triplex” project. Raymond Loewy’s design was entirely replaced by a steam turbine design by PRR and was canceled in 1948. (As we know that the shrouding of GG1 wasn’t designed by Loewy, so I won’t comment here.) I am not sure when did Raymond Loewy end his cooperation with PRR, but I guess it was a break up with no regrets.

Raymond Loewy achieved what he wants outside the railroading world,  but I heard he was a railfan too. If I were him, I would feel jealous of Henry Dreyfuss’s smooth and great career success working with New York 
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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, September 7, 2018 5:55 PM

I feel had the designers been on the opposite teams with their designs the results would have still favored the NYC.  PRR management was the big impedement on the adoption of new designs.  Lowey and Dreyfuss were about equal in the foresights.  PRR Management was the boar anchor.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, September 8, 2018 6:37 AM

I agreed that PRR’s management culture was one of the main reason of why Loewy’s works and designs encountered such “ambagious treat”, but I think PRR was open minded to some rare or new mechanical ideas like the direct-drive steam turbine and the concept of duplex, although these ideas or concept were adopted just because PRR and its allies wanted to prolong the dominance of the steam locomotive, in order to protect there coal transport business, but they failed. Moreover, PRR remained a good  relationship with EMC/EMD even though PRR refused some dieselization suggestions by them.

Compared to NYC, B&O, MILW, UP or CB&Q, they did much better than PRR in terms of creating a cooperation image from hardware to software. PRR had more than enough money and resource to improve, they even hired the most famous Industrial Designer to do it but turn out it still fell between two stools (especially on the west end). As a PRR Fans who love steam engine, it is frustrating......They could have done better.
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, September 8, 2018 10:15 AM

Raymond Loewy did some excellent design work with Fairbanks Morse on its diesel line and with Northern Pacific on the "North Coast Limited".

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, September 8, 2018 12:33 PM

Yes, he did, MILW's FM Erie-built was one of my favorites in terms of body design even though it performance wasn't good enough. Loewy also designed the Baldwin shark nose RF-16 and helped to die BLW to gain a total of 160 units ordered.


There were some designs he probably didn't claim. I have seen more than one sources stated that the streamlined shrouding of PRR Q1 and 4 K4s were his works, but altered by PRR, like the headlight of Q1, a freight engine, was supposed to place on the middle of the bullet nose, which would had concurred with the design of S1, a passenger engine. But it seems like PRR didn't want any more of design which the Keystone number plate could not be placed on the middle of smokebox door or headlights not placed above the Keystone plate, so the design was altered, maybe this is the reason why Raymond Loewy didn't count it as his works.

Another example was the four (Miser!) K4s Streamlined for The South Wind and The Jeffersonian in 1940 and 1941, they look like Q1 and NYC J-3a and many thoughts that it was a works of PRR's designer and looks even better than #3768. Maybe just a misunderstanding or Loewy didn't want people to say his works looks like Henry Dreyfuss's works.

Rumor said that PRR #3768 tried a new livery which looks like bronze, but actual was a golden tint mixed with dark red to match the F.O.M consist. If it was true, Loewy must had played a part in it, but PRR probably wanted their engine to keep looking like a dark mint chocolate so the color was changed back to DGLE.    


Q1 4-6-4-4, https://digital.hagley.org
PRR's best friend K4s (Streamlined), https://digital.hagley.org
By the way, in case you missed this news; the first time a non brass version of it: 




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