Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


9 Jan 2023

A tribute to designer Tom Karen OBE

image of Tom Karen OBE at graduation

It is with sadness that we share the news of the passing of alumnus Dr Tom Karen OBE.

Tom, who studied Aeronautical Engineering at Loughborough in the 1940s, died on New Year’s Eve 2022 aged 96.

Responsible for an array of well-known designs, Tom’s work was internationally recognisable.

He came to the UK in 1942 having fled German-occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939. He began to study at Loughborough shortly after, before moving to London to pursue further study in Industrial Design.

The alumnus was the Chief Designer and Managing Director of Ogle Design from 1962 to 1999. Among a raft of well-known Ogle products are the Reliant Scimitar GTE ' high-performance estate', Leyland's 'Truck of the Year', and the Bond Bug.

He is also responsible for the infamous Raleigh Chopper bicycle and Kiddicraft Marble Run. One of Tom’s most successful designs, the Marble Run has been played with by millions of children. He cites the piece as his “most inspired creation”.