Archive, automobile and industrial design, Charles Frederick Beauvais, Australia/England, 1920-1960
These objects were produced in England and Australia from the 1920s to the 1960s. The model car was made in 1936.
The materials were used to promote the work of Frederick Beauvais and his design company Beauvais Industrial Styling Company. These include the remnants of four design portfolios. Ron Harrison owned this material and ran Beauvais Industrial Styling Company from the early 1970s to 1988.
Charles Frederick Beauvais was an industrial designer, artist and futurist whose main area of interest was automobile design and transport systems.
Beauvais worked in England in the 1920s and 1930s, before emigrating to Australia in 1937. Between 1925 and 1929 he worked as Technical Art Editor at The Motor magazine. He worked on the layout of the magazine and also contributed illustrations and occasional articles. Between 1929 and 1934 he worked as an artist-engineer or designer for a number of motor manufacturers. He worked for The Star Motor Co in Wolverhampton, Singer & Co Ltd Coventry, The New Avon Body Company Warwick where he designed and produced twelve new models, and Crossley Motors limited, for whom he designed the new Crossley "Regis". He continued to contribute articles and illustrations to journals and also designed cars for himself. During the 1930s he developed his concept for "The Car of the Future". In 1936 he built a wooden scale model of his design and had an article published in The Motor titled "Rear-Engined Car Possibilities". His design placed the engine at the back and a luggage compartment in the bonnet. The body had a streamlined contour to it. Beauvais believed these features would improve the fuel economy, speed and comfort of the vehicle.
In 1937, Beauvais arrived in Melbourne. he contributed an article on traffic conditions in Melbourne to the English journal The Autocar soon after his arrival, titled 'Motoring Down Under'. From about 1938 to 1940 Beauvais worked for the Special Body Division of General Motors Holden designing customised vehicles. He designed streamlined motor coaches, limousines, caravans and commercial vehicles. When the war began he designed jigs and tools for wartime aircraft production.
He was then employed as an artist by The Argus newspaper for five years. He drew numerous war illustrations for the newspaper, depicting both the home war effort and the deeds of Australians in battles overseas. He also contributed his futurist drawings to the newspaper and a number of articles. One such article was "The Post War Car", which was published in 1946. This was an article about Beauvais' Car of the Future. The archive contains a number of the original drawings which were used in this article. Another example is the article "Atomic Age, Artist Foresees New Transport Methods".
He moved to Sydney in about 1946 and established his own Industrial Design company called Industrial Styling Company - Australasia. The company created a diverse range of products including exhibition displays, oil stoves, and lamps. In 1947 Beauvais created a nodel of the City of the Future for Atlantic Union Oil Company. The model was displayed at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and the Melbourne Show. It was approximately twenty feet long and made from plastic. There were 2000 plastic vehicles which moved around ten lane highways on rubber conveyer belts.
In 1954 Beauvais' company designed and constructed two of the arches over Sydney roadways which were erected for the Royal Visit. Industrial Styling built an arch over Park Street for Sydney City Council which was shaped as two boomerangs. The materials were supplied by Ralph Symonds Pty Ltd. The company also built an arch in Bridge Street for the Sydney Wool Selling Brokers Association.
Charles Frederick Beauvais' son, Peter Beauvais, seems to have been involved in the Industrial Styling Company from its beginning. He was active in the design community and contributed a number of articles to various magazines and newspapers on industrial design. He took over the company in about 1950. At this time the company was incorporated as a new company known as Beauvais Associates. The activities of the organisation were then subdivided between the two companies, with Beauvais Associates concentrating on industrial product design and the International Styling Company manufacturing Beauvais products and producing store modernisation schemes, exhibitions and displays.
In 1953 the company moved from Pitt Street to Chippendale and in 1960 to new premises in Revesby. Ron Harrison became Director in the 1960s and remained in charge until 1988, when his son took over. Today the company is still in operation and is known as Beauvais Displays.
Charles Frederick Beauvais based his design principles on the ideas of designers such as Norman Bel Geddes and Raymond Leowy. He claimed to be a "designer capable of reshaping things into forms attractive to the eye without transgressing mechanical laws or upsetting practical requirements" (see 98/44/1-6/4).