Boat-planes, trains, flying cars, or school desks—you name it and Norman Bel Geddes could make it sleeker. He helped bring the Streamline style—one that balances aesthetics with aerodynamics—to the mainstream. Were Steve Jobs alive in the 1930's, he would have been all over this. Our friends at Oobject have 12 of his finest works.
Be sure to also check out these Sky Captain vehicles, some stunning streamlined trailers, and 12 of Raymond Loewys best designs
Airliner number 4
A 1929 design for an intercontinental airliner Geddes, produced with Otto Koller. It was envisioned to carry 451 passengers in the comfort of the most modern ocean liner with a crew of 155 which included a librarian, gymnast, masseur and masseuse, two headwaiters, two wine stewards, seven musicians, and nine bar stewards.
Geddes Teardrop Car Model
None of Geddes' cars were built, however, the 7 or so models that he produced were his first foray into industrial design.
1934 patent model car
Bel Geddes streamlined bus design
Geddes 'Whale' Ocean Liner circa 1932
The streamlined shapes are more required for the bit below the water, than that above, since air resistance is less of a problem with the massive inertia and relatively slow speed of ships. For this reason you do see many boats that look this this, although it is rather beautiful.
Futurama Exhibit, GM pavilion, NY Worlds Fair 1939
Bel Geddes tried to show the world 20 years into the future (1959–1960). Sponsored by General Motors, the installation was characterized by its automated highways and vast suburbs.
Streamline one piece school desk
A desk is by definition static, so the use of streamlined design for it shows it to be stylistic rather than aerodynamic,
Miss Ellie from Dallas
One of the more surprising things about Geddes is that his daughter was the actress who played Miss Ellie, in the TV series, Dallas.
Locomotive number 1
An early streamlined train. Unlike cars, many streamlined trains were built.
Geddes flying car design
Cobra desk lamp, 1930s
Geddes' most collectible item today.
Chairs by Geddes and Max Cobb
Much of Geddes' realized work was furniture which was less futuristic (more art deco than machine age) than his designs for transportation. These chairs however, are nicely modernist and look somewhat like a contemporary Marc Newson design.