Evinrude Industrial Designer: Brooks Stevens

From: lib1@...
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2004 17:04:18 -0600


This week I've stumbled, onto some very interesting historical info about the styling of the original 1964 Evinrude (16 & 14) gull wing boats. As far back as the 1930's, OMC and most specifically Milwaukee-based, Evinrude used the industrial design services of Brooks Stevens. Now I know it wasn't by accident that these boats have such timeless styling!

Between 1956 - 1961, Brooks Stevens' firm did half a dozen wild "dreamboats" or "concept vehicles" for Evinrude beginning with the tail-finned, 1956 Lark, but more importantly, I've uncovered documented evidence in the Industrial Design magazine of December, 1964, that mentions both Richard Cole, marine architect, and Brooks Stevens, industrial designer, collaborating on the then-new, Evinrude boat line. The article also comments that "the Evinrude boats symmetrical line's are good as the Johnson's are cluttered," and that they are "ironically, both built in the same factory."

Stevens was responsible for designing Evinrude, Gale, & Johnson products until 1957. But then Johnson, hired another firm to try and give them a more diverse, divisional look (hence the white Johnsons). (Must have been some healthy rivalry between Johnson & Evinrude in the late fifties and sixties!) Stevens continued working on other OMC product lines besides Evinrude, like snowmobiles, Lawn Boy mowers, and Cushman scooters, as well.

If you've never heard of Brooks Stevens, you'll probably recognize some of the more popular products he designed, for numerous companies, like Harley-Davidson, Jeep, Allen-Bradley, Miller Brewing and many others. He's considered one of the top five industrial designers of the 20th century. Check out some of these interesting links:




Also, I was lucky to find this excellent book in our library:
It features pictures & details of all the Evinrude "concept" boats.


Lee Shuster
Salt Lake City
Received on Saturday, 10 July 2004

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