James S. Stephens Photograph Collection

James Shand Stephens (1860 - 192?) was an early pioneer in aviation in the Midwest. Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, Stephens was educated as a professional engineer and worked as a mechanical engineer for several companies in Canada and the United States, including the White Bear Power and Light Company; the Hamm Brewing Company; the Milwaukee Railroad; and he served as chief electrician at the Columbia Exposition of 1892. After 1910, Stephens devoted most of his time to aeronautics. Stephens was an officer of the Illinois Aero Club, an editor of 'Aerial Age,' and also helped plan the International Aviation Meet in Grant Park (1911) and the Gordon Bennett Aeroplane Race (1912). Stephens was also the inventor of the Steco Aerohydroplane as well as the Steco Cyclecar. Stephens designed the Steco Aerohydroplane in 1909-1910, built it in 1911, and made the final assembly and mounted the engine in 1914. After the aircraft's test flights in July, 1914, it was dismantled and stored.