Walter Dorwin Teague Jr. 1910-present (son of Walter Dorwin Teague 1883-1960)
|The first production car conceived by an industrial designer was Walter
Dorwin Teague's Marmon 16 designed by Walter Dorwin Jr. With the 1932 Marmon 16 came a new approach to design.
Strong geometric forms were smoothed out and the new structures also lended themselves better to new construction
As industry in general competed to be modern, sleek and efficient, cars in particular were affected. Of
greatest influence upon industrial design were the airlines. This rapidly expanding industry affected an ever
increasing number of people; the heavy competition leading to rapid developments in materials and engineering.
Principally it was the smooth forms of aircraft that began to influence a wide selection of products.
With luck and, as he says, "a series of dedicated physicians," W. Dorwin Teague has managed to outlast all the
other pioneers in the industrial design field. He has designed everything from casters to cars and, at 88, is still
available for assignment.
His career began at the advent of the modern age when companies discovered that if their products worked better
and looked better, more people would buy them. Teague the industrial designer was both artist and engineer.
Walter Dorwin Teague (1883 - 1960)
American artist who moved to industrial design in 1927. His major client was Kodak, and Teague used the latest materials and technology in an aesthetic setting. He was a theoretical purist who rejected expressionism, and saw a future where individual inspiration would be replaced with a universal machine-age aesthetic. His view was that the perfect form for any object existed within it - the designer's job was to uncover this form. Teague was fascinated by technology and the future - he said "New products will appear which will make the fanciful predictions that decorate our advertising pages seem commonplace". He became the first professional designer in the USA when Loewy put him as first member of the newly formed American Society of Industrial Designers.
Produced at a time when many small motor companies existed in the United States, the Marmon 16 was designed by the office of Walter Dorwin Teague, primarily by his son, Dorwin. It was promoted against competitors like the Cadillac.
Marmon 16 car model
In 1931, Norman Bel Geddes patented designs for an entirely streamlined train. Resembling earlier designs of 1865 by Reverend Samuel Calthrop, this design was produced in a wave of actions by designers to bring back customers from competing modern airlines and highways. Streamlining of locomotives created greater consumer appeal particularly through the greater speeds and performances achieved through aerodynamics.
Aerodynamics had been considered by designers for use with automobiles since the turn of the century but it wasn't until the 1930s that the materials and processes were available for cost effective production. Soon both American and European designers and engineers were producing experimental 'teardrop' based concepts. Although none of these reached production, they had the effect of broadening the minds of the consumer and pointing future design in a new direction. The Society of Automobile Engineers concluded in 1931 that the 'ultimate form' for the automobile was the teardrop.
Norman Bel Geddes, Raymond Loewy and Walter Dorwin Teague were all designers set the task of exploring the aesthetic aspects of aerodynamics for various car companies. Bel Geddes patented designs for a teardrop car, bus, yacht, liner and plane; Loewy obtained patents for a heavily streamlined car. It was Loewy that was responsible for the famously streamlined forms of the Greyhound buses.
US industrial designer, called the "dean of industrial design" by many. Born in Decatur, IN, he moved to New York in 1903 and studied at Art Students League of New York.
He established his own typographic studio in 1911, and by mid 1920s was involved in commercial packaging. He left advertising in 1926 to open an industrial design firm in New York City and added industrial design to his letterhead in 1927, receiving his first contract with Eastman Kodak effective January 1, 1928. For Kodak designed a number of well-known cameras, including an Art Deco gift camera (1928), Baby Brownie (1934), Bantam Special (1936), and the Brownie Hawkeye (1950). He designed the Marmon 16, introduced in 1932, and the trend-setting Texaco gas stations (1936).
He was on the Board of Design for the 1939 World's Fair, where he also designed the Ford and US Steel pavilions. He wrote his book, Design This Day" in 1940. In 1944, he became the first president of the Society of Industrial Designers (SID). In 1948 he designed the first Polaroid camera for Edwin Land. After the war, WDTA became a major consultant for Boeing, establishing a branch office in Seattle, WA and has designed interiors for them ever since, including the Stratocruiser (1946), the 707 (1958), 737 (1963), 747 (1969), 767 (1982) and 777 (1995). WDTA also designed the furnishings for the new Air Force Academy in 1958.
After his death, his son, Walter Dorwin Teague Jr., continued to run his consulting office, Walter Dorwin Teague Associates (WDTA).
Marmon left the auto business just as it came in with a magnificent 491 c.i., 200-hp, V-16 in 1931. The eight exceptional body styles were by Walter Dorwin Teague. The Marmon Sixteen became the largest American passenger car engine of its era. In February 1931, before production started, the Society of Automotive Engineers honored Colonel Marmon for "the most notable engineering achievement of 1930," his huge and gleaming V-16 engine design. The society was especially impressed by his extensive use of lightweight aluminum, generally a difficult metal to work and maintain in automobile power plants. There was a companion eight-cylinder auto in 1932 but only the Sixteen was listed for 1933.
At the very end, Howard Marmon built, at his own expense, a prototype auto with 150 hp V12 engine, independent front-suspension, DeDion rear axle and tubular backbone frame, with styling by Teague. This model, however, never saw production.
The original Nordyke and Marmon Plant 1 was at the southwest corner of Kentucky Avenue and West Morris Street. Plant 2 was at the southwest comer of Drover and West York Street. Plant 3 was a five-story structure measuring 80 x 600 feet parallel to Morris Street (now Eli Lilly & Company Building 314). The Marmon assembly plant was built adjacent to the Morris Street property line with Plant 3 behind and parallel to it (also part of the Eli Lilly complex).
ORIGINAL DESIGNER -- W. Dorwin Teague stands next to his creation, the 1930 all-aluminum Marmon V-12. Teague hasn't seen this Marmon for 70 years. Last year Teague served the Concours as an honorary judge. His legacy as an automotive and industrial designer has been preserved not only in this advanced, trend setting design restored by its owner, Ed Schoenthaler of Chicago, but it also can be read in his biography, "Artist as Engineer." See story "Car designer sees creation for first time in 71 years."Photo by Larry Weitzman
Aug. 23, 2001 -- Car designer sees creation for first time in 71 years
By LARRY WEITZMAN Democrat auto columnist
PEBBLE BEACH -- Sunday Aug. 19. W. Dorwin Teague was standing next to a vehicle he hadn't seen in nearly 70 years. That would be an unusual event for most anyone, but for Teague, it was extraordinary as it was Teague who had designed this very special Marmon some 71 years ago. The car he designed was a special 1930 Marmon Coupe that was supposed to be the car that would saved Marmon and its V-16 legacy. As fate would have it, the depression killed the company, notwithstanding Teague's incredible creation and the vehicle itself became the personal car of Howard Marmon.
Teague's creation was an all aluminum automobile, including a V-12 OHV engine that used an aluminum block and heads. It started a new trend in fender design, with fenders that were streamlined with tight fitting wheel wells and smoothly integrated into the body. The design also included headlights that were flared into the fenders.
"Within seven years, every car in the U.S. eventually had this fender design." said the 91-year-old Teague, "I got the idea from race car driver, Frank Lockhart, who drove at Daytona."
"Col. Marmon saw a 1/10 scale model I had built, and he wanted me to design it in full size," said Teague, "Although it turned out to be trendsetting, it didn't save the company, it was too little, too late, but Marmon kept the sporty two-door coupe as his personal car for years."
The owner, Ed Schoenthaler, found Teague and brought him to the show. Teague hadn't seen the car in nearly 70 years.
It was the only Marmon ever built with a V-12," said Schoenthaler, "But it used the same configuration and bore and stroke as the V-16." According to the originally factory material and owner's manual which Schoenthaler had at the Concours, it had a 3.125-inch bore and a 4-inch stroke and 368 cubic inches or exactly 6 liters. It produced 151 hp at 3,700 rpm and 263 pounds of torque at only 1,200 rpm. It weighed 4,600 pounds and rode on a long 134-inch wheelbase. The tires were 7X18 inches and the fuel tank held 25 gallons of 15 cent gas. Performance was listed at 0-50 mph in 12.77 seconds and a top speed of 92 mph. Remarkable performance for a 1930 motor vehicle. The engine is pure silk at idle.
The Marmon took second place in Class D, American Classic Closed.
Teague went on to become a rocket scientist, joining Bendix Aviation in the 1940s as a senior research engineer in rocket design. He eventually headed a team of scientists, including several from the German V-2 rocket program and Klaus Scheufelen, head of rocket development at Peenemunde, Germany, where the V-2 was developed. There were 4,320 V-2s were launched during the period of September 6, 1944 to March 27, 1945
Teague wrote his autobiography, "Artist as Engineer, Industrial Designer." It is available at Amazon.com or Bookmaster.com.
Teague was accompanied at the Concours by his son Louis Teague, a film director whose credits include Romancing
the Stone, Navy Seals, several Stephen King movies and a film entitled Collision Course, in which he directed
Concours MC and participant, Jay Leno in 1987.
For more information please read:
Walter Dorwin Teague - Road & Track - January 1960
W. Dorwin Teague - Industrial Designer: The artist as Engineer
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