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Brooks Stevens Bio

60 Years of Industrial Design

Born on June 7, 1911, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Industrial Designer Brooks Stevens was known for an array of innovations that spanned 60 years. Stricken with polio as a child, his father encouraged him to draw while bedridden. He later attended Cornell University in New York from 1929 to 1933. For a brief time he worked for a firm as a package designer, then opened his own design firm in 1934. Stevens sphere of influence spread quickly until 1952 when estimated annual retail sales of the products designed by him reached one billion dollars. He was one of the last of a generation of product-design pioneers whose creations paved the way for the everyday gadgetry that people now take for granted.

Mr. Stevens continued to teach industrial design at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design until his death in 1995. The rich legacy of industrial design continues today by Brooks’ sons as Brooks Stevens Design in Wisconsin.

Automobile Design & Collection

Brooks true passion was classic automobiles. Through his early career as an industrial designer- and later, as an automotive designer for such companies as American Motors, Volkswagon, Alfa Romeo and Studebaker, Stevens began a modest hobby of collecting classic cars. The hobby eventually grew into the Brooks Stevens Automobile Collection & Museum in Mequon, Wisconsin. Which closed its doors in 1999. In addition to racing his cars against other vintage cars, Stevens began to formulate a modern concept car that would combine the safety and dependability of standard components but have a look of the nostalgia of yesterday. He dreamed up the Excalibur, a revival of an earlier era’s grand touring car, for Studebaker. When that company went out of business, he and his sons took over the Excalibur’s production and formed their own corporation, SS Automobiles Inc., in 1964. There was never a replicar maker until Excalibur and it lasted 24 years.

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