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George W. Walker (1896-1993)
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Walker, George W.

Carroll Gantz
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George W. Walker (1896-1993)

U.S. automotive and industrial designer who was born in Chicago, and attended the Cleveland School of Art. Later, he trained at the Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles in 1916, and in 1920 began his career as an advertising illustrator in a Los Angeles department store. He returned to Cleveland as an freelance illustrator, establishing his own firm, and worked for department stores and Premier Press. He entered the automotive business in 1928 by working for the Peerless auto company and then for the Baker-Raulang body company, both in Cleveland. Amos Northup, then chief designer for the Murray Body Company in Detroit who visited at Baker-Raulang, suggested Walker should come to Detroit, where he interviewed and worked briefly for Harley Earl and John Tjaarda at General Motors and then for Graham Paige, working with Amos Northup (Murray designed bodies for Graham Paige) until the company failed in the Depression of 1929. He then found work at Dura, an automotive parts supplier and by 1934, headed his own industrial design firm in Detroit. He hired Elwood Engel and Joe Oros. Walker’s firm worked for Nash (1937-1945) and in product design as well, designing clocks, breadboxes, chemistry sets, bicycles, and roller skates. During World War II he consulted on government contracts with International Harvester, among others. One of his clients was József Galumb of Ford, for whom he designed Ford parts, and by 1946 was designing some Ford cars as an independent consultant, and working on the 1949 Ford, Ford’s first true post-war model. He soon joined Ford, bringing with him his colleagues Elwood Engel and Joe Oros.He became Ford's first vice president of styling in 1955, where he remained until his retirement in 1961. In 1959 he was a guest challenger on the TV panel show, To Tell the Truth. After retirement he moved to Gulf Stream, FL, where he became mayor in 1976. By 1985, he was in Tucson, AZ, where he was interviewed by the Ford Design History Center

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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