Edwin Augustus Stevens, Jr.

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Edwin Augustus Stevens, Jr. (March 14, 1858 – March 8, 1918) was an army officer, marine engineer, and naval architect. He was among the founders of Cox & Stevens in 1905, which became an influential and successful New York design firm.

Early life and family

Stevens was born in Philadelphia in 1858, the son of Edwin Augustus Stevens, a well-known designer and founder of the Stevens Institute of Technology, and nephew of John Cox Stevens, founder of the New York Yacht Club and a driving force in the design of the yacht America and the competition for the America's Cup.

He attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire and then entered Princeton University, graduating with an A.B. degree in 1879. He then enrolled at the Stevens Institute of Technology, graduating as an engineer.[1]

On October 28, 1879 he married Emily Contee Lewis (December 29, 1857 – October 25, 1931) of Virginia. She was the great-granddaughter of Lawrence Lewis, George Washington's nephew, and Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, Washington's adopted daughter and step-granddaughter. They had eight children: John Stevens VI (b. January 28, 1881), Edwin Augustus Stevens III (b. August 15, 1882), Washington Lewis Stevens (b. September 26, 1883), Bayard Stevens (b. July 20, 1885), Martha Bayard Stevens (b. December 30, 1886), Basil Martiau Stevens (b. December 28, 1888), Lawrence Lewis Stevens (b. November 29, 1889), and Emily Custis Lewis Stevens (b. June 27, 1896).[2]


His most notable personal achievement was the propeller driven double ended ferry, which is the most typical vehicle ferry in use today. The significance of his design was a shaft which could control propellers at both ends of the craft. Among the advantages was superior braking of the vessels, since paddle wheel propulsion systems could not effectively be reversed to slow the craft. Prior to propeller drives, double ended ferries had less usable width because of side wheel propulsion.

Cox & Stevens began in 1905 as a yacht design and commercial brokerage in New York City. The original principal partners were Daniel H. Cox, Irving Cox, and Edwin Augustus Stevens Jr. The firm continued under various names until the 1970s.

Stevens died in 1918, six days before his 60th birthday, in Washington, D.C., where he was serving as a shipyard inspector under appointment by President Woodrow Wilson.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Col. E.A. Stevens of Hoboken is Dead". The New York Times, March 9, 1918. Accessed August 9, 2008.
  2. Sorley, Merrow Egerton. Lewis of Warner Hall (1935, reprinted 1979), pp. 217-21.


  • First Family of Inventors History of the Stevens family
  • Cox and Stevens Collection Mystic Seaport Museum
  • Hoboken Museum
  • The Encyclopedia of Yacht Designers, by Lucia Del Sol Knight (Editor), Daniel Bruce MacNaughton (Editor) W. W. Norton & Company 2005
  • The Golden Century: Classic Motor Yachts, 1830-1930, by Ross Mactaggart, W. W. Norton & Company 2001