Patten, Raymond E.
Ray, a U.S. industrial designer born in Malden, MA, attended Harvard and studied engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His first position was with the Hume Body Corporation in Boston. He later designed custom automotive bodies for the Dayton Wright Company and spent five years with the Packard Motor Car Company. In 1928, he was employed by the Edison General Electric Company in Chicago as a consulting engineer to supervise appearance design. In 1932, he designed an Art Deco tilt-type Hotpoint "Gazelle" toaster for the company, and in 1933-1934, designed General Electric exhibits at the Chicago Century of Progress Exhibition. In 1933, General Electric formally established an internal industrial design group, the Appearance Design Division, Appliance and Merchandising Department, in Bridgeport, CT. Patten was named its head, and held the position until his death. He relocated to Bridgeport in 1934. His early employees included Helen Hughes Dulany, who re-styled the General Electric stove line; George A. Beck (1908-1977), FIDSA, who in 1946 was named manager of industrial design at GE's new electronic department in Syracuse; and Gordon Florian (1909-1984) who in 1946 opened his own industrial design practice in Bridgeport. Ray designed ranges, dishwashers and locomotives for GE during his career, including a 1937 coffee service with red and black Bakelite plastic handles. In 1939, he received the Lord and Taylor award for a range design "as sightly as a grand piano." He was a charter member of the Society of Industrial Designers (SID) when it was formed in 1944. In 1946, GE introduced passenger (PA) and freight (FA) versions of Alco and GE locomotives designed by Patten, which were described as, "a locomotive so distinctive and so powerful looking that it actually helps railroads sell their services to passengers and shippers." After Patten's 1948 death in Westport, CT, Arthur N. BecVar (1911-2003), FIDSA, replaced him as General Electric head of industrial design.