The Golden Age of Streamlining (Amberley)

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In the period between the two world wars, a golden era of industrial design gave rise to the concept of streamlining, with reduced wind resistance leading to faster transportation. The Art Deco-influenced style was also a huge public relations exercise in the glamour-obsessed 1920s and 1930s.

On the railways, beautiful, streamlined locomotives in daring colour schemes appeared at the head of prestigious named expresses, especially in Europe and North America. They included the Fliegender Hamburger in Germany, the American Mercury trains and of course Sir Nigel Gresley’s A4 Class, on which the streamlined casing enabled Mallard to break the world speed record.

The idea of streamlining made even more sense in the air, where the great airships were crossing the Atlantic, and aircraft like the Douglas DC3 cut through the air more easily than anything that came before. On the world’s roads, buses and cars lost their perpendicular appearance and marques like Cord and Bugatti led the way with increasingly aerodynamic, wind-tunnel-tested profiles.

Before long, designers began to apply the same style to products for which wind resistance was irrelevant, such as buildings, refrigerators and even pencil sharpeners! The Golden Age of Streamlining tells the story of the streamline era – its designers, its successes and failures, its inspiration and its legacy. Well illustrated. 96 pages.

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