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Clare Hodgman c. 1955
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Hodgman, Clare E.

Carroll Gantz
Birth/Death Age: 
Clare Hodgman c. 1955

U.S. Industrial designer born in Buchanon, Michigan who started his career as a designer with General Motors in the early 1930s, working with Frank Hershey in the Oldsmobile studio. In about 1936 he left GM for Sears & Roebuck in Chicago, where he designed a variety of consumer products, including refrigerators, under Jack Morgan, who had just organized Sears’s new design department in 1934. Clare probably worked with Raymond Loewy, who consulted with Sears in the design of its famous 1935 ‘Coldspot’ refrigerator. Clare’s good friend, Robert Bourke, in his 1985 reminiscences, said that Clare actually worked for Loewy, and was hired by Sears after the ‘Coldspot’ design, but this is unconfirmed and is not mentioned in Clare’s obituary (the source of much info in this article) by Tucker Madawick, another Loewy colleague of Hodgman, who says Hodgman was hired by Sears prior to being hired by Loewy in the ‘late 1930s’.

In about 1938, he joined Raymond Loewy Associates in their London office, working under Carl Otto on the Hillman Minx and Rootes Sunbeam Talbot. He also designed conceptual racecars for the British Autocar magazine in March, 1938. With WW II underway, the London office soon closed, and Clare was returned to South Bend, Indiana, where Loewy had his Studebaker office. Hodgman designed the famous 1939 Studebaker ‘Champion,’ often credited to his superior and former colleague at GM, Virgil Exner, or to Loewy himself. He also worked on the 1940 line of Studebakers. After the war, Clare returned to Loewy’s New York office where he maintained many national and international accounts as head of the product design department. Hodgman was a prolific and talented sketch artist, and many of his sketches for Loewy were claimed and publicized by Loewy as his own. So many sketches you have seen as ‘Loewy’s” are actually those drawn by Clare Hodgeman.

Clare resigned from Loewy in 1951, and in 1955, he joined with Robert E. Bourke, a colleague from both Sears and Loewy, to form an independent office, Hodgman & Bourke, Industrial Design Consultants, in New York City. Their accounts ranged from Coca Cola, Mack Trucks, GAF cameras, Volvo, Superior Coach, and Electrolux, SA. Clare lived in Mamaroneck, and was awarded many dozens of design patents.

Clare retired in 1969, when he moved to Daytona, Florida and excelled in contemporary water colors.



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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