Sam Farber graduated from Harvard College in the class of 1946 with a bachelor’s in economics. In 1960 he founded COPCO, a housewares company known for its well designed, colorful cookware and tea kettles including porcelain-enameled cast iron cookware designed by Michael Lax, IDSA, and Margrethe mixing bowls designed by the Danish firm of Bernadotte & Bjorn, both of which have become classic designs. COPCO was sold in 1982, and Farber retired in 1988 to spend more time pursuing his interest in Outsider Art. He has curated Outsider Art exhibitions, lectured and written on the subject.
In 1990 he founded OXO International, now a leader in the manufacture of ergonomic kitchen utensils called Good Grips, designed by Sam, his wife Betsy and John Farber; in collaboration with Smart Design staff members Davin Stowell, Dan Formosa, Tucker Viemeister, Michael Callahan, Steve Russak and Stephen Allendorf. The line won an IDEA award in 1990, and was named a "Design of the Decade" by IDSA in 2000. OXO was sold to General Housewares Corporation in 1992, and Mr. Farber retired from active management in 1995. He continued to work as a consultant to General Housewares until 2001 when he and his son, John, formed Product Development Workshop LLC to consult on design and marketing. They have worked with COPCO on the Mario Batali lines.
Farber has lectured on design and mentored design programs at graduate business schools such as Harvard, M.I.T., Babson and Carnegie Mellon. In addition to serving on ID’s Board of Overseers, he is a director of the Corporate Design Foundation, a director of Raw Vision magazine, a former member of the Board of Governors of the Parsons School of Design and a trustee of the Museum of American Folk Art.