Ludwig and Erwin Loewy were born in Czechoslovakia. In 1913, Ludwig initially worked for a German shipbuilding firm where he designed large diesel engines for the first great Atlantic ocean-liners, the S.S. Leviathan and the S.S. Berengaria. By 1914, he had joined the firm of Eduard Schloemann in Dusseldorf where he demonstrated his skill as a designer of machine tools, rolling mills, and hydraulic presses. Ludwig became a partner in the company in 1921, and Erwin joined the firm as general sales manager in 1925. Schloemann became a premier, multi-national engineering firm.
After the brothers were forced to escape from the Nazis in the mid-1930's, their careers were tied to national defense. Ludwig established a company in England, approached the governments of the Allied forces and persuaded them to build extrusion presses for the production of airplanes, which were to become decisive in the outcome of World War II.
Ludwig Loewy died in 1942. His brother, Erwin, continued to build on Ludwig’s legacy. As part of the Air Force Heavy Press Program, Erwin’s crowning achievement was the design and completion of a mammoth 50,000 ton forging press erected in 1955, the largest machine of its kind in the world. The 50,000 ton press continues to operate today (in Massachusetts) and virtually every airplane in operation has components fabricated from the press.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Erwin Loewy a Certificate of Merit. After World War II, Erwin and a talented “Corps of Engineers” at Loewy-Hydropress entered the space age, designing the first motion simulator for the Polaris Missile and the launch pad for the Vanguard Rocket.
The Loewy Family Foundation selected Lehigh University to advance research and education in materials forming and engineering in honor of Ludwig and Erwin Loewy with the Loewy Chair (1992), the Loewy Visiting Professorship (1999), and the Loewy Graduate Fellowship (2008).