S.F. Briggs was born in Watertown, South Dakota and was graduated from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota (1907). The idea for his first product came from an upper-class engineering project at SDSU. This first product was a six-cylinder, two-cycle engine which Stephen Foster Briggs had developed during his engineering courses at South Dakota State College (which later became SDSU). After his graduation, he was eager to produce his engine and enter the rapidly expanding automobile industry. Bill Juneau, a coach at South Dakota State, knew of Briggs' ambition and the entrepreneurial interests of Harold M. Stratton, a successful grain merchant who had a farm next to Juneau's farm. Briggs and Stratton were introduced, and with that introduction, the Briggs & Stratton company was born.