Helene Rother: Simply put…Designer

I doubt Helene Rother knew as she and her young daughter escaped to a refugee camp in northern Africa from Nazi occupied France that before long she would be illustrating for Marvel Comics, apparently Jupiter Jimmy, and designing automobile interiors in the United States.

This is a gem I found as I was researching for a car that might have been used in the American Zone of Berlin by an American officer in the late 1940s. I don’t traditionally like to utilize the cliché vehicles we read about in every other book. Instead I want something interesting that I can learn from. When I found the 1948 Nash 600 and Helene Rother I knew I had found my car.


(Interior shot courtesy of autoweek.com)

Helene is credited as being the first woman to work as an automotive designer back in 1943. It’s really no wonder that she was so successful. She knew what women liked and thus what men would like. She brought class to the middle class. And she changed the way the auto industry treated not only the less wealthy auto buyer but the creative woman as well.

Helene went on to design interiors for ambulances and hearses and have her own design company. She even designed the Skylark silverware pattern for Samuel Kirk & Son.


Later in life she began designing stained glass for churches. (Stained glass images courtesy of michiganstainedglass.org)



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