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 methods.

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.
"Just as the great ocean liners of the last two decades...had influenced the international style of white surfaces, furniture and furnishings",the sleek, efficient forms of airliners were guiding the design of modern products. The aerodynamic form became the new aesthetic direction.


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 life has been a journey through the American century. He worked a freighter at 15, drove across the country in a second-hand Chevy roadster at 16, designed the body of the fabulous Marmon Sixteen at 19. Turning 20, he left M.I.T. to join the industrial design firm founded by his father, with whom he would spend much of the next decade arguing, until he left to help Bendix design weaponry during World War II.
          Dorwin Teague holds over 90 U.S. patents. His product designs run the gamut from gas ranges to dental chairs, machine tools to bicycles, vacuum cleaners to desk lamps, cash registers to ski poles.

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.
          And sometimes architect. With his associates Dorwin Teague designed pavilions and accoutrements for the New York World’s Fair (both 1939 and 1964), international trade shows, centennial and conservatory centers. He worked for the Agriculture Department, the Commerce Department, the State Department. For the Defense Department he supervised German rocket scientists brought to the U.S. after World War II.
          The Teague approach to design is intuitive and holistic. He has always looked for the simplest, most effective solution to a problem. In this book, he explains the thought processes that got him there.
          This book is both a history of industrial design and the memoir of a man who sought adventure and loved a good time. He climbed mountains, skied around the globe, competed with power boats, raced cars, flew airplanes and ultimately settled upon ocean racing as the ultimate sport.
          Dorwin Teague tells his story with a combination of wit, pride and self-depreciation. Highlighting the text are over 400 photos and illustrations which serve as a historical record of his time and his life. This book is an in-depth look at a generation whose spirit and ingenuity spawned the American century.

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
Designers: Walter Dorwin Teague (American, 1883-1960) and Walter Dorwin Teague, Jr. (American, b. 1910)
Fabricator: Boucher
Client: Marmon Motor Company
USA, 1930
Wood, lacquer, metal, rubber


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 or

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

Biographies of Prominent Carriage Draftsmen - Carriage Monthly, April 1904

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

George Arthur Oliver - A History of Coachbuilding

George Arthur Oliver - Cars and Coachbuilding: One Hundred Years of Road Vehicle Development

Hugo Pfau - The Custom Body Era

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Car

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Era

Richard Burns Carson - The Olympian Cars

Brooks T. Brierley - Auburn, Reo, Franklin and Pierce-Arrow Versus Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln and Packard

Brooks T. Brierley - Magic Motors 1930

James J. Schild - Fleetwood: the Company and the Coachcraft

John R. Velliky - Dodge Brothers/Budd Co. Historical Photo Album

Stephen Newbury -  Car Design Yearbook 1

Stephen Newbury -  Car Design Yearbook 2

Stephen Newbury -  Car Design Yearbook 3

Dennis Adler - The Art of the Sports Car: The Greatest Designs of the 20th Century

C. Edson Armi - The Art of American Car Design: The Profession and Personalities

C. Edson Armi - American Car Design Now

Penny Sparke - A Century of Car Design

John Tipler - The World's Great Automobile Stylists

Ivan Margolius - Automobiles by Architects

Jonathan Bell - Concept Car Design

Erminie Shaeffer Hafer - A century of vehicle craftsmanship

Ronald Barker & Anthony Harding - Automobile Design: Twelve Great Designers and Their Work

John McLelland - Bodies beautiful: A history of car styling and craftsmanship

Frederic A. Sharf - Future Retro: Drawings From The Great Age Of American Automobiles

Paul Carroll Wilson - Chrome Dreams: Automobile Styling Since 1893

David Gartman - Auto Opium: A Social History of American Automobile Design

Nick Georgano - Art of the American Automobile: The Greatest Stylists and Their Work

Matt Delorenzo - Modern Chrysler Concept Cars: The Designs That Saved the Company

Thom Taylor - How to Draw Cars Like a Pro

Tony Lewin & Ryan Borroff - How To Design Cars Like a Pro

Frederick E. Hoadley - Automobile Design Techniques and Design Modeling: the Men, the Methods, the Materials

Doug DuBosque - Draw Cars

Jonathan Wood - Concept Cars

D. Nesbitt - 50 Years Of American Auto Design

David Gartman - Auto Opium: A Social History of American Automobile Design

Lennart W. Haajanen & Karl Ludvigsen - Illustrated Dictionary of Automobile Body Styles

L. J. K Setright - The designers: Great automobiles and the men who made them

Goro Tamai - The Leading Edge: Aerodynamic Design of Ultra-Streamlined Land Vehicles

Brian Peacock & Waldemar Karwowski - Automotive Ergonomics

Bob Thomas - Confessions of an Automotive Stylist

Brooke Hodge & C. Edson Armi - Retrofuturism: The Car Design of J Mays

Gordon M. Buehrig - Rolling sculpture: A designer and his work

Henry L. Dominguez - Edsel Ford and E.T. Gregorie: The Remarkable Design Team...

Stephen Bayley - Harley Earl (Design Heroes Series)

Stephen Bayley - Harley Earl and the Dream Machine

Serge Bellu - 500 Fantastic Cars: A Century of the World Concept Cars

Raymond Loewy - Industrial Design

Raymond Loewy - Never Leave Well Enough Alone

Philippe Tretiack - Raymond Loewy and Streamlined Design

Angela Schoenberger - Raymond Loewy: Pioneer of American Industrial Design

Laura Cordin - Raymond Loewy


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