Oliver Evans (September 13, 1755 – April 15, 1819) was an American
inventor, engineer and businessman born in rural
Delaware and later
rooted commercially in Philadelphia. He was one of the first Americans
building steam engines and an advocate of high pressure steam (vs. low
pressure steam). A pioneer in the fields of automation, materials
handling and steam power, Evans was one of the most prolific and
influential inventors in the early years of the United States. He left
behind a long series of accomplishments, most notably designing and
building the first fully automated industrial process, the first
high-pressure steam engine, and the first (albeit crude) amphibious
vehicle and American automobile.
Born in Newport, Delaware, Evans received little formal education and
in his mid-teens was apprenticed to a wheelwright. Going into business
with his brothers, he worked for over a decade designing, building and
perfecting an automated mill with devices such as bucket chains and
conveyor belts. In doing so Evans designed a continuous process of
manufacturing that required no human labor. This novel concept would
prove critical to the
Industrial Revolution and the development of
mass production. Later in life Evans turned his attention to steam
power, and built the first high-pressure steam engine in the United
States in 1801, developing his design independently of Richard
Trevithick, who built the first in the world a year earlier. Evans was
a driving force in the development and adoption of high-pressure steam
engines in the United States. Evans dreamed of building a
steam-powered wagon and would eventually construct and run one in
1805. Known as the Oruktor Amphibolos, it was the first automobile in
the country and the world's first amphibious vehicle, although it was
too primitive to be a success as either.
Evans was a visionary who produced designs and ideas far ahead of
their time. He was the first to describe vapor-compression
refrigeration and propose a design for the first refrigerator in 1805,
but it would be three decades until his colleague
Jacob Perkins would
be able to construct a working example. Similarly, he drew up designs
for a solar boiler, machine gun, steam-carriage gearshift,
dough-kneading machine, perpetual baking oven, marine salvage process,
quadruple-effect evaporator, and a scheme for urban gas lighting,
ideas and designs which would not be made reality until some time
after his death. Evans had influential backers and political allies,
but lacked social graces and was disliked by many of his peers.
Disappointed and then angry at the perceived lack of recognition for
his contributions, Evans became combative and bitter in later years,
which damaged his reputation and left him isolated. Despite the
importance of his work, his contributions were frequently overlooked
(or attributed to others after his death) so he never became a
household name alongside the other steam pioneers of his era.
1 Early life, 1755–83
2 Developing the automatic flour mill, 1783–90
3 Writer and merchant, 1790–1801
4 Developing the high-pressure steam engine, 1801–06
4.1 Oruktor Amphibolos
4.2 Steam Engineer's Guide
5 Mars Works, 1806–12
5.1 Pittsburgh Steam Engine Company
5.2 Patent battles
6 Later life and death, 1812–19
9 External links
Early life, 1755–83
Oliver Evans was born in
Newport, Delaware on September 13, 1755 to
Charles and Ann Stalcop Evans. His father was a cordwainer by trade,
though he purchased a large farm to the north of Newport on the Red
Clay Creek and moved his family there when Oliver was still in his
infancy. Oliver was the fifth of twelve children; he had four
sisters and seven brothers. Little else is known of Evans's early
life, and surviving records provide few details as to his formative
years. The nature and location of his early education has not been
preserved, however his literacy was demonstrably strong from a young
age, both as a writer and an avid reader on technical subjects.
Aged 17, Evans was apprenticed to a wheelwright and wagon-maker in
Newport. An anecdote from the period recalls that his master, an
illiterate and extremely frugal man, forbade Evans the use of candles
to illuminate his reading in the evenings. Evans found another way by
collecting scraps and shavings of wood from his work during the day to
serve as fuel for small fires. The Revolutionary War began when
Evans was 19. He enlisted in a
Delaware militia company, but saw no
active service during the war.
By the age of 22, Evans moved out of wheel-making and became a
specialist in forming the fine wire used in textile cards, which were
used to comb fibers in preparation for the spinning process to make
thread or yarn. A desire to increase the efficiency of this process
led him to his first invention—a machine which would bend wire into
teeth and cut them off rapidly to aid the assembly of cards. George
Latimer, then a justice of the peace in Newport, saw its potential and
tasked a blacksmith with creating the machine, which became one of
Evans's early successes when it was introduced in 1778. Evans wished
to go further in mechanizing the production of textile cards by
developing a machine which could puncture the leather into which the
wire teeth were inserted. His invention greatly speeded the card
manufacturing process, producing around 1,500 teeth every minute,
though Evans himself was unable to find financial backing to
commercialize his invention. Nevertheless, over the next two
decades card manufacturing innovations inspired by Evans's led to the
development of automated textile card production, then in great demand
due to the growth of the Southern cotton industry. Early pioneers of
mechanized textile-card production, including Giles Richards and Amos
Whittemore, are thought to have borrowed heavily from his original
Evans also began experimenting in this period with steam power and its
potential for commercial application. His early ideas culminated in a
Delaware state patent application in 1783 for a steam-powered wagon,
but it was denied as Evans had yet to produce a working model. That
same year, aged 27, Evans married Sarah Tomlinson, daughter of a local
farmer, in Old Swedes' Episcopal Church in Wilmington.
Developing the automatic flour mill, 1783–90
Evans's design for the automated flour mill, 1790
Evans's attention turned to flour milling in the early 1780s, an
industry which was booming in rapidly industrializing northern
Delaware. In this era, the operation of grist mills was
labor-intensive. Although the stages of the milling
process—grinding, cooling, sifting and packing—were beginning to
be mechanized to various degrees, gravity or manual labor was required
to move grain from one stage to the next. Additionally, some stages
(particularly cooling) were slow and inefficient, creating significant
production process bottlenecks. Mills were becoming commonplace in
populated areas and those with ready access to waterways for power,
but the bulk of milling in the 1780s was done in the home through hand
milling. Furthermore, the quality of milled wheat was poor in colonial
Hard wheat varieties were insufficiently ground and sifted by
mills, leaving a flour that was coarse and brown.
Cross-contamination was a major problem: mill processes were not
well-partitioned; the many people moving about the mill contaminated
the flour with dirt, grain and other impurities. The end result,
Evans recognized, was a low quality product that took too many
laborers to make.
In 1783, two of Evans's brothers began building a mill in Newport on
part of the family's farm estate which they purchased from their
father, and Evans was recruited to oversee its construction on the Red
Clay Creek. When the mill opened in 1785 it was of a conventional
design, but over the next five years Evans began to experiment with
inventions to reduce the reliance upon labor for milling. Moving wheat
from the bottom to the top of the mill to begin the process was the
most onerous task of all in contemporary mills. Evans's first
innovation was a bucket elevator to facilitate this process. Chains of
buckets to raise water was a
Roman technology had been used in various
guises since antiquity. Evans had seen diagrams of their use for
marine applications and realized with some modification and careful
engineering they could be used to raise grain, so a series of bucket
elevators around a mill could move grain and flour from one process to
the next. Another labor-intensive task was that of spreading meal.
This came out of the grinding process warm and moist, needing cooling
and drying before it could be sifted and packed. Traditionally the
task was done by manually shoveling meal across large floors. In
response, Evans developed the "hopper boy", a device which gathered
meal from a bucket elevator and spread it evenly over the drying
floor—a mechanical rake would revolve around the floorspace. This
would even out newly deposited meal for cooling and drying, while a
gentle incline in the design of the rake blades would slowly move the
flour towards central chutes, from which the material would be
sifted. Used in conjunction, the two innovations saved many hours
of labor and greatly reduced the risk of contamination.[A]
Evans's "hopper boy" and automated flour-sifting process
Despite their technical complexity, neither device was revolutionary
by the standards of the time. However, the total vision of their
design was. Evans was attempting a radical shift in thinking about the
manufacturing process, treating it as a continuous integrated whole
rather than a series of isolated processes. Thus, manufacturing could
be a fully automated production line. The missing link was materials
handling, and Evans's mill designs sought to feed materials
continuously through a system without the need for any human
intervention. This was the first fully automated industrial
process, and the idea of continuous production was proved to
be a critical ingredient of the industrial revolution, and would
ultimately lay the foundation for modern mass production.
Constructing the machinery to realize this vision was complicated.
Evans struggled to find the money to pay the highly skilled carpenters
needed to construct his complex machines. The nearby flour milling
industry on the
Brandywine River was large, but dominated by the
Quaker millers of Wilmington who saw little potential in Evans's
designs. James Latimer, a Newport flour merchant upon hearing Evans's
ideas exclaimed "Ah! Oliver, you cannot make water run uphill, you
cannot make wooden millers!" Latimer's son, George, however once
more saw the promise in Evans's ideas and helped him to secure patent
protection over the inventions throughout 1787 and 1788. By this
time Evans converted his brothers' mill at
Red Clay Creek
Red Clay Creek into a fully
automated prototype based on his perfected designs, and the Evans
brothers sent handbills and diagrams to the major milling centers of
the United States offering free licensing of the designs for the first
miller in each county who would commission Evans to refit their mills.
Yet this campaign was to prove a major disappointment, and little
commercial interest materialized.
Brandywine Village became an influential early adopter of Evans's
Evans lacked patience however, and coupled with a prickly disposition,
was prone to display frustration and bewilderment towards those who
could not immediately see the value of his ideas. His ideas and
designs were often far ahead of their time, and the idea of a fully
automated production process was difficult for contemporaries to
comprehend. Evans recalled when some Brandywine millers happened to
Red Clay Creek
Red Clay Creek mill in the early years of its operation
after it was fully automated. He was alone at the mill that day and
making hay in a nearby field, and purposely stayed out of sight so his
visitors could observe the mill running independently without human
supervision. Evans then appeared and at great length explained how the
feat they witnessed was possible, and was convinced that the chance
visit would bring about a breakthrough with the Brandywine millers.
However, he was frustrated at reports that the millers returned to
Wilmington and reported that the Evans mill was "a set of rattletraps,
unworthy the notice of any man of sense". Disinterest continued
even after Evans convinced a Brandywine miller to have his mill
After years of persistence and attempts at marketing, Evans's designs
were finally given a trial on larger scales and adopted elsewhere. A
breakthrough came in 1789 when the Ellicotts, a progressively minded
Quaker family in Baltimore, invited Evans to refit their mills on the
Patapsco River. The refits proved a success, and Evans worked with
Jonathan Ellicott to develop a modified form of
Archimedean screw that
could act as a horizontal conveyor to work alongside the vertically
orientated bucket elevators. He added a rake-drill and conveyor belt
to his designs, and now possessed a full complement of materials
handling machines for just about every possible configuration. In
1790, Evans moved from Newport to Wilmington and constructed a working
model of his designs in the town. Evans's inventions were given a
major boost when leading miller
Joseph Tatnall converted his mills to
the Evans system, and estimated that in one year the changes saved his
operation a small fortune amounting to $37,000. Local millers quickly
followed suit, and
Brandywine Village was soon a showcase for Evans's
milling technology. After almost a decade, the Brandywine millers
were finally convinced, and within a short period automated mills
began to spread across the eastern seaboard. In 1790, upon
introduction of federal patent law, Evans immediately applied for
protection for his milling designs and was granted the third US
patent, with his application personally examined and approved by
Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and
Attorney-General Edmund Randolph.
Writer and merchant, 1790–1801
The Young Mill-wright & Miller's Guide, 1795
Having secured patent protection for his designs and general adoption
by the Brandywine millers, Evans now turned his attention outside
Delaware. His brother Joseph travelled widely to promote Evans's work,
and according to some sources, by 1792 over one hundred mills were
operating Evans machinery. When
George Washington called upon
Joseph Tatnall in 1790 to thank him for the flour he provided to feed
Continental Army during the War of Independence, he saw Evans's
technology at work in the mills in
Brandywine Village and was so
impressed that had his own gristmill at
Mount Vernon converted to the
Evans system in 1791, the completion of which was overseen by Evans's
brothers. In 1793, Evans sold his share in the
Red Clay Creek
Red Clay Creek mill
and moved his family from Wilmington to Philadelphia, where he opened
a store for milling supplies.
His early years in
Philadelphia though were dominated by writing.
Initially Evans intended to write a pamphlet to assist millers in the
construction of milling machinery, as well as promoting his own
automated designs. However, Evans became so engrossed in the project
that he ultimately devoted several years to writing a comprehensive
book on milling technology that included long chapters on the basic
principles of physics, hydraulics and mechanics; at times neglecting
his family's financial security in order to complete it. The Young
Mill-wright and Miller's Guide when it appeared consisted of five
parts: 'Principles of
Mechanics and Hydraulics', 'Of the different
Kinds of Mills', 'Description of the Author's Improvements', 'On the
Manufacturing of Grain into Flour', 'Ellicott's Plans for Building
Mills', and a lengthy appendix in which Evans detailed various ideas
for other inventions, such as a hot-air system of central heating.
Thomas Ellicott, whose family were early adopters of Evans's designs
in Baltimore, contributed a section on mill construction. Much of the
theoretical work of the book was based on earlier scientific work on
mechanical principles, yet Evans insisted that theoretical sections
align with observations in the practical sections, and hence often
revised standing theories to comport with experiments he conducted and
observations he made. For example, he found what was written on the
theoretical mechanical principles of waterwheels did not match what he
could replicate in practice, so he revised them based on observation
to form a "true theory" and concluded that "neither the old or new
theories agree with practice, therefore we must suspect that they are
founded on error. But if, what I call the true theory, should continue
to agree with practice, the practitioner need not care on what it is
The guide's list of subscribers was topped by George Washington,
Thomas Jefferson and
Edmund Randolph when the first edition appeared
in print in 1795. The book proved very popular and remained a
staple manual for millers for over half a century, undergoing several
revisions and fifteen printed editions between 1795 and 1860. The
book's popularity rested on its detailed practical explanations of
mill design and construction, and as the principal guidebook for
American milling it would not be superseded until after the Civil
After the publication of the Guide, Evans concentrated on his work as
a milling supply merchant and gaining financial security through
licensing his patented designs. With enough millers now using Evans's
machinery, adoption began to accelerate rapidly after 1800, as did his
considerable wealth from the license fees. In these years Evans
concentrated on growing his commercial operations in Philadelphia,
expanding his store several times, becoming an agent for English
imports, and taking on blacksmiths to complete more complicated metal
work for mills. All the while Evans continued to refine various
elements of mill design, including patenting a new process for making
millstones and developing a screw mill for grinding plaster of Paris,
which was in great demand in
Philadelphia for stucco work. Evans
and his younger brother Evan, along with blacksmith Thomas Clark,
developed a device for packing flour barrels using a wooden disc
operating by a compound lever and a toggle joint.
Developing the high-pressure steam engine, 1801–06
An Evans high-pressure steam engine, 1805
Steam engines appeared in the United States as a source of power in
the late 18th century, and living in
Evans was exposed to early examples of their application there. John
Fitch had launched the first rudimentary steamboat onto the Delaware
River in the late 1780s, and the
Philadelphia waterworks was by
1802 operating two low-pressure steam engines to pump water from the
Schuylkill River, but these were rare examples and most instances of
this new technology were to be found in Europe. Much of the
development of steam power had occurred in Great Britain, with Thomas
James Watt instrumental in developing and commercializing
steam power there and elsewhere in Europe, with several hundred of
machines operating there in industrial and labor-saving applications
Evans had first begun to consider the potential applications of steam
power for transportation while still an apprentice in the 1780s, and
had developed rudimentary designs for 'steam carriages' in the 1790s.
In 1801, Evans definitively began work on making his long-held dream
of a steam carriage into reality. Early steam engineers, most
notably Watt contemporary William Murdoch, had developed plans for a
steam-propelled carriage incorporating a heavy flywheel, in which
pressure was converted directly to rotary power, however it became
apparent in experimentation that a low-pressure, rotary steam engine
would never be powerful enough to propel a carriage of any weight
forward. Evans's attention thus turned to a reciprocating engine,
not only for his steam carriage ideas, but also for industrial
application. Importantly, Evans became an early proponent of 'strong
steam' or high-pressure engines, an idea long resisted by Watt and
earlier steam pioneers because the necessary iron making and metal
working technology was lacking. Evans recognized that a high-pressure
steam engine would be essential to the development of a steam carriage
because they could be built far smaller while providing similar or
greater power outputs to low-pressure equivalents. Some
experiments with high-pressure steam engines had been made in Europe,
most notably an unsuccessful steam tractor developed by Nicolas-Joseph
Cugnot. However the prevailing fear of early steam engineering was
that no boiler could safely contain high-pressure steam. Evans
ignored potential drawbacks, and developed radically different designs
which called for engines operating at high-pressure and the
elimination of the condenser—a central component of conventional
designs. His designs also incorporated a grasshopper beam, a
double-acting cylinder, and four steam valves. Each valve was
independently operated by one of four cams. The resulting design was a
high-pressure steam engine that had a higher power-to-weight ratio
that prevailing designs, making locomotives and steamboats
practical. It was also mechanically simpler than condensing
engines, making it less costly to build and maintain, and did not
require large volumes of condensing water. These features would make
it similarly suited for a variety of industrial applications.
Evans's sketches of his first steam engine, 1803
As with the automated mill, Evans's ideas were harshly criticized by
other engineers—most notably some of the
community including the influential Benjamin Latrobe. As it
happened, Cornish engineer
Richard Trevithick had simultaneously
developed similar ideas in favor of high-pressure engines and begun to
experiment with them in developing the first locomotives, but neither
knew of the other's work.[C]
Constructing his designs proved far more difficult than Evans
initially envisaged—with just six working steam engines in the
United States at this time, and a handful of workshops with any
experience making them, it took Evans much of his savings and two
years to yield a working example to display to the public in 1803.
This first engine was powered by a double-acting cylinder six inches
in diameter and with a piston stroke length of eighteen inches.
Many components, such as the flywheel and crosshead, were made of wood
in order to simplify construction. The boiler, the engineering of
which was critical to the safe operation of the engine, consisted of a
large copper shell encased in wood and cast iron rings in order to
contain the pressure. The output of the machine was approximately
five horsepower. This work output was modest by contemporary
standards—the low-pressure engine of the nearby waterworks produced
about twelve horsepower. But his steam engine was just a fraction of
the size of pre-existing machines—the waterworks machine was over
twenty-five times larger in volume. Evans unveiled his engine at
his store and put it to work crushing plaster of Paris and, more
sensationally, sawing slabs of marble. The showmanship paid off,
and thousands came to see the machine in operation, while the
Philadelphia newspaper Aurora declared "a new era in the history of
the steam engine."
An artistic reconstruction of Oruktor Amphibolos, 1834
Evans received a patent for his new steam engine in 1804, and set
about looking for commercial applications. The first of his proposals
was for the Lancaster Turnpike Company. He proposed to construct a
steam wagon with the capacity to carry 100 barrels of flour between
Philadelphia and Lancaster in two days, which by his estimation would
greatly increase profits compared to the equivalent five horse wagons,
for whom the trip took three days. Evans declared in his proposal that
"I have no doubt but that my engines will propel boats against the
current of the Mississippi, and waggons [sic] on turnpike roads with
great profit." With the company unsure of the reliability and cost
of the technology, the proposal was rejected.
Despite this setback, within a year Evans had found a client. The
Philadelphia Board of Health was concerned with the problem of
dredging and cleaning the city's dockyards and removing sandbars: in
1805 Evans convinced them to contract him to develop a steam-powered
dredge. The result was the Oruktor Amphibolos, or "Amphibious Digger".
The vessel consisted of a flat-bottomed scow with bucket chains to
bring up mud and hooks to clear away sticks, stones and other
obstacles. Power for the dredging equipment and propulsion was
supplied by a high-pressure Evans engine. The end result was a
craft nearly thirty feet long, twelve feet wide and weighing some
seventeen tons. To move this ungainly hulk to the waterfront, as well
to give a demonstration of his long-held beliefs in the possibility of
land-based steam transportation, Evans mounted the hull on four wheels
(twice, as the first set collapsed under the weight) and connected the
engine to them in order to drive the Oruktor from his workshop through
Philadelphia streets on the way to the
Schuylkill River on July
13, 1805. The Oruktor Amphibolos is thus believed to have been the
first automobile in the United States, and the first motorized
amphibious craft in the world. However, very few contemporary
accounts of the craft survive, and Evans's tendency to exaggerate its
success in his own annals make verification of its performance
difficult. Although Evans himself claimed it proceeded successfully
Philadelphia (and circled his erstwhile rival Benjamin
Philadelphia waterworks) before launching into the river and
paddling at speed to
Philadelphia harbor; the great weight of the
craft make land-propulsion based on its limited engine capacity and
jury-rigged power train fairly improbable over any significant
distance. It is similarly unknown how well, if at all, the Oruktor
functioned as a steamboat, and Evans's claims on this point vary
significantly over the years. Nevertheless, it is known that the
invention proved ineffective for its ostensible purpose as a dredger,
and it was scrapped for parts by the Board of Health in 1808.
Nevertheless, Evans's ideas of steam carriages were not an impossible
dream. Evans would continue to promote the idea. In 1812 he
published a futuristic description of a world connected by a network
of Shipping lines railroad tracks and steam locomotives, accurately
describing what will happen in the future. long before any such
potential could be realized:
"The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam
engines, from one city to another, almost as fast as birds fly,
fifteen or twenty miles in an hour"
Steam Engineer's Guide
Evans frequently quarrelled with fellow inventors and engineering
peers over steam technology in the mid-1800s. His increasing
frustration led to his premature publication of what he had hoped
would be the equivalent of his earlier manual for millers—the
petulantly titled The Abortion of the Young Steam Engineer's Guide.
The Steam Engineer's Guide was significantly shorter than this first
book and less structured in its approach. A third of the book is
devoted to an ongoing argument between Evans and John Stevens (another
prominent steam engineer of the day), much of which had previously
appeared in the journal The Medical Repository and to which now Evans
added various additional criticisms of Stevens' contentions. Evans
concludes his book by renouncing inventing and any further work on his
designs, complaining of the ingratitude of the public and the
unprofitability of the endeavour, although this would prove to be just
one of many such assertions by Evans over the coming years.
Regardless, the Steam Engineer's Guide proved to be a popular work,
though not on the same scale as his guide to milling, however it was
the first book in the United States to make accessible to anyone ideas
and techniques for steam engineering.
Evans's diagram of a steam valve from the French edition, 1820
The book begins with an introductory discussion of the principles of
steam engines and the relevant physical principles, as well as designs
for the Evans high-pressure steam engine, boilers, screw-mills and
others. Evans developed a similar suite of tools and tables for
potential steam engineers as he had for potential millers, such as
tables itemizing the heat and pressure tolerances of various metals,
instructions for assembling the basic components of a steam-powered
system, and schematics for useful components such as valves and
boilers. Evans also used the book to justify the safety of
high-pressure steam engines if properly constructed, despite the fact
that by this time Evans himself had experienced several boiler
explosions in his workshop. However, thermodynamics were little
understood in his time. As such, many of Evans's theoretical
contentions, including the 'grand principle' of steam he develops to
guide the mathematical modelling of pressure and fuel in steam
engines, were substantially flawed. Although Evans was to be quite
successful in the development of high-pressure steam engines (and his
designs were widely used), his theoretical understanding of them was
limited and he was generally unable to accurately predict the inputs
and outputs of his machines. The guide also indulged in a far
wider range of topics of interest to Evans, including a compendium of
inventions from others which he deemed to be worthy of further
circulation—such as a straw-cutter and flour press developed by his
brother Evan, and a horse-drawn scraper and earth mover invented by
Gershom Johnson. Evans also used the opportunity to encourage
government sponsorship of research:
"If government would, at the expense of uncertainty, employ ingenious
persons, in every art and science, to make with care every experiment
that might lead to the extension of our knowledge of principles,
carefully recording the experiments and results so that they might be
fully relied on, and leaving readers to draw their own inferences, the
money would be well expended; for it would tend greatly to aid the
progress of improvement in the arts and sciences."
This suggestion stemmed from the observation that many engineers
relied on the basic principles of physics and mechanics to guide their
work, and yet this often required inventors and engineers to become
scientists as well to obtain experimental data—something that they
were rarely qualified or resourced to do. Short of government funding
of such research, Evans also attempted to create in the aftermath of
the Steam Engineer's Guide what he called 'The Experiment Company',
which would be a private research consortium to conduct reliable
experiments and gather data for the benefits of subscribed
members. The venture failed and Evans could find no paying
stockholders to launch it, possibly due to Evans committing the new
venture to developing a steam wagon of his own design. The
Franklin Institute would be founded in
Philadelphia a few years after
Evans's death on similar principles.
Despite an incomplete understanding of the principles behind them, in
some ways Evans's thinking about the potential for steam engines was
once again far ahead of its time. In the postscript of the Steam
Engineer's Guide, Evans noted that drawing a vacuum on water reduces
its boiling point and cools it. He further observed that a vacuum
would have the same effect upon ether, and the resulting cooling
should be sufficient to produce ice. He went on to describe a piston
vacuum pump apparatus to produce this effect, and also showed that a
compression cylinder, or the compression stroke of the vacuum pump,
should produce heat in a condenser. Thus Evans had produced the
first detailed and theoretically coherent design for a
vapor-compression refrigerator, identifying all the major components
(expander, cooling coil, compressor and condenser) of a refrigeration
cycle, leaving some to credit him as the 'grandfather of
refrigeration'. Although Evans never developed a working model of
his designs, and there is no evidence that he ever attempted to, Evans
in his later life worked and associated extensively with fellow
Jacob Perkins on steam engines and the potential for
refrigeration. Perkins would later develop and build a
refrigeration device for which he received patents in 1834–1835,
employing much the same principles originally put forward by
Mars Works, 1806–12
The Columbian Engine of 1812
Having, in his view, perfected many of his ideas and designs for steam
engines, Evans turned his attention once more to the commercial
propagation of his inventions. His first steam engines had been
constructed on an ad-hoc basis, often with improvised tools and
workers, and he had relied heavily on blacksmiths and other
metal-working shops in
Philadelphia with little experience in the more
precise metal-work required to build steam engines. In particular,
Evans soon realized that unlike his milling machines of wood and
leather he would need specialist skills, precision tools and a large
foundry in order to build steam machines on a commercial basis. Thus,
Evans constructed the Mars Works on a large site a few blocks north of
his store in Philadelphia. The choice of name, after the Roman god
of war, is thought to have been aspirational and a challenge to the
Birmingham in the United Kingdom, famous for
building the Watt and Boulton engines. Indeed, the completed
Mars Works was one of the largest and best equipped outfits of its
kind in the United States—by contemporary accounts it featured a
substantial foundry, moldmaker's shop, blacksmith's shops, millstone
maker, a steam engine works and a large steam engine of its own to
grind materials and work wrought iron. With over thirty-five staff,
the Mars Works produced a wide range of manufactures ranging from
working steam engines to cast iron fittings, as well as milling and
farming machines for Evans's now well-established agricultural
Steam engine orders alone proved insufficient to
support the extensive business costs; hence the works became highly
experienced in producing all kinds of heavy machinery, contributing to
Philadelphia's emergence as a leading center for such work in the 19th
century. Indeed, the works even received military orders, casting
naval cannons during the War of 1812. Evans also proved highly
innovative in designing steam power solutions for his clients. In one
example where the Mars Works was commissioned to build engines for
wool processing factories in Middletown, Connecticut, Evans designed a
network of accompanying pipes with radiators to heat the factory with
Although there are no records as to the designs of the early steam
engines produced by the Mars Works, Evans's most famous engine design
appeared around 1812. Called the Columbian Engine as a patriotic
gesture, it would prove to be the most advanced and successful steam
engine design created by Evans—he brought to bear his now extensive
experience in designing and building high-pressure steam engines.
This horizontally oriented engine allowed the crankshaft and piston
rod to work closely together at one end of the machine, thus reducing
the need for a heavy working beam like those required for conventional
engines. The piston rod itself was kept working to a straight line
while by a new type of linkage wherein two sets of pivoted bars guided
the movements of the working bar. This linkage is still known as the
Evans straight-line linkage, though it was superseded within a few
years by more precise straight line mechanisms. The Columbian was
also the culmination of the grasshopper-style of steam engine.
Perfected designs like the Columbian saw a popularization of the
grasshopper-style and its wide use in a range of applications. In
1813 he made the decision to introduce a condenser to the Columbian
design. This significantly cut the running cost to the engine, and at
this point his engines were as efficient and powerful as low-pressure
Watt-Boulton designs, yet far cheaper to build and smaller in
size. Within a year 27 Columbian engines were operating or under
construction in applications ranging from sawmilling and grain milling
to the manufacturing of paper, wire and wool.
Pittsburgh Steam Engine Company
The Enterprise (1814), the first commercially viable steam boat on the
Mississippi, employed a high-pressure steam engine adapted from an
Oliver Evans design.
As the reputation of the Mars Works grew, so too did the demand for
its products. After a few years the Mars Works began exporting its
engines inland. Oliver Evans's son George was the first such order,
having moved to Pittsburgh in 1809 to operate the Pittsburgh Steam
Flour Mill. George and the mill were highly successful, and generated
a great deal of interest in Evans's engines across the interior.
However exporting engines to western Pennsylvania, Kentucky or Ohio
was challenging and expensive from a logistical perspective. In 1811
Evans and George, as well as another successful steam miller and
engineer Luther Stephens, founded the Pittsburgh Steam Engine Company,
which in addition to engines would, like the Mars Works, produce heavy
machinery and castings in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With high
demand for industrial products and relatively little industrial
capacity, the Pittsburgh works added to its repertoire the capacity
for brasswork, as well as producing finer products for domestic
purposes like hinges and fittings.
The Constitution (1817), built by the Pittsburgh Steam Engine Company,
which sank after a rare but well publicized explosion of its
The location of the Pittsburgh factory in the Mississippi River
watershed was important in the development of high-pressure steam
engines for the use in steamboats, and the new company began to
promote its engines for river transport. Evans had long been a
believer in the application of steam engines for maritime purposes. In
his book of 1805, Evans had stated:
"The navigation of the river Mississippi, by steam engines, on the
principles here laid down, has for many years been a favorite subject
of the author, and among the fondest wishes of his heart"
Evans had long been an acquaintance of John Fitch, the first to build
a steamboat in the United States, and the two had worked together on
steam projects. The Oruktor Amphibolos was Evans's lone attempt at
building his own steamboat powered by a high-pressure engine and Evans
himself was often vague in appraising its capabilities. Yet Robert
Fulton had found success with the North River
Steamboat on the Hudson
River in 1807, and thereafter steamboats became a reality. Although he
used low-pressure engines, Fulton had in 1812 contacted Evans about
the possibility of using Evans's engines, though that correspondence
did not lead to the implementation of any of Evans's designs for
Fulton's steamships. The Mississippi and tributaries experienced
far stronger currents than eastern counterparts, and low-pressure
steamboats lacked the power to counteract these. The Enterprise was
the first viable steamboat to run on these rivers, and its designer
Daniel French employed an adapted Evans' engine for the purpose.
High-pressure engines became the standard on the Mississippi, though
relatively few of those were actually built by the Pittsburgh works as
Evans' patent on high-pressure engines was not widely enforced, and
many other engine shops opened on the Mississippi that freely adapted
Evans' designs for their own purposes.
Notable examples of river steamboats that were constructed by the
Pittsburgh and Mars Works include the Franklin, the Aetna and the
Pennsylvania. Another, christened the
Oliver Evans but renamed the
Constitution by its eventual owners, was lost along with the eleven
crew members when its boiler exploded near Point Coupee,
Louisiana. Evans was deeply distressed by the news, although he
defended the safety of high-pressure engines and cited any explosions
as an extremely rare occurrences.
Thomas Jefferson's letter to Isaac McPherson in 1813, weighing into
the debate over the validity of Evans' patents and principles of
Evans found himself in battles to protect his intellectual property
many times throughout his career, but he pursued the cause most
doggedly during his latter years. His first and most successful
patents concerning flour-milling proved the most problematic to
defend, and Evans' battles proved influential in setting precedent for
the newly established area of federal patent law. His original patent
for his automated flour-mill expired in January 1805, but Evans
believed that the fourteen year patent term was too brief and
petitioned the Congress to extend it. In January 1808 An Act for
the Relief of
Oliver Evans was passed and signed by President
Jefferson, a long-time admirer of Evans's work. The act took the
extraordinary step of reviving to Evans his expired patent and giving
it another fourteen year term— Evans was delighted, but the move was
to highly problematic, particularly regarding those who had
implemented Evans's designs in the intervening three year period
between the patent terms, as many millers had waited for Evans's
patent to expire before upgrading their mills.
Evans and his agents set about aggressively collecting royalties from
those using his designs. Furthermore, Evans significantly raised the
license fees for his use of his patented technology, raising claims of
extortion from those being asked to pay, and a great many cases ended
up in court. The 1808 act had indemnified those who had adopted
Evans's technologies from 1805 to 1808, but did not specify whether
this indemnity was perpetual (as defendants argued) or whether it was
only for the three years in question (as Evans argued). Evans by
this stage of his life had also established a poor reputation for
himself amongst the milling community, and his abrasive and often
petty pursuit of patent rights stiffened resistance. Several major
legal cases questioned whether laws to extend private patents in this
manner were even constitutional, but Evans ultimately prevailed in
The most bitter legal battle began in 1809. Evans sued Samuel
Robinson—a miller near
Baltimore who was using Evans's improvements
without a license to produce a very modest amount of flour—for
damages of $2,500. That sum was deemed unjustifiably high and harsh by
many, and Evans's actions rallied the
Baltimore community against him,
and when the case was finally heard in 1812 many appeared in support
of the defendant. Evans's detractors presented evidence and
witnesses at the trial to press the argument that Evans did not truly
invent much of what his patents protected. Although the hopper-boy was
undoubtedly original, the use of bucket chains and Archimedean screws
had been used since ancient times and Evans had only modified some of
their features and adapted them for use in a milling context. A now
Thomas Jefferson weighed into the debate in letters to both
Evans and his detractors, questioning the philosophy of patent law and
what truly defined 'invention' and 'machine' (and to some extent the
validity of his claims) but ultimately defended the purpose of patent
law, which was to incentivize innovation by rewarding inventors for
their development and sharing of new technology. And Jefferson noted
that though Evans's designs consisted of devices that had long existed
beforehand, everyone had access to these and yet only Evans had
thought to modify and use them in conjunction to build an automatic
mill. Ultimately the jury found in favor of Evans, but it was a
pyrrhic victory as Evans had put most of the milling community offside
in the process, and ultimately reduced his claim against Robinson to
$1,000. In response, prominent Evans critic Isaac McPherson, made
submission to Congress in the wake of the trial entitled Memorial to
the Congress of Sundry Citizens of the United States, Praying Relief
from the Oppressive Operations of Oliver Evans' Patent, seeking
to limit the compensation Evans could seek for his patent's use or for
Congress to void it altogether. Although the Senate drafted a bill
that would roll-back some of Evans's patent rights, it did not pass,
and he continued to vigorously pursue his patent fees. It would
not be until the
Patent Act of 1836 that many of these issues,
including what constituted originality in the context of a patent,
would be addressed.
Later life and death, 1812–19
Evans in his later years
Although Evans had always suffered from bouts of depression, and
bitterness towards those he felt did not appreciate his inventions,
such sentiments seemed to peak in his later years. During one of his
many legal battles in 1809, comments from the presiding judge sent
Evans into a particular fury in which he dramatically incinerated many
schematics and papers regarding his inventions, both prior and future.
Evans declared at the time that inventing had led only to heartache,
disappointment and under-appreciation; and committed himself to
business and material acquisition for the sake of his family.
Ultimately what was burned represents only a small proportion of what
survives from Evans, and he did continue his interest in inventing,
but the tone of Evans's later life was undoubtedly one of hostility
Evans gradually withdrew from the operations of his workshops, with
his son George managing operations in Pittsburgh and his sons-in-law
James Rush and John Muhlenberg likewise in Philadelphia. The Mars
Works was by now an established entity, receiving prestigious
commissions such as the engines for the
Philadelphia Mint in
1816. Records indicate the Mars Works would turn out more than
one hundred steam engines by the time of Evans death. In
retirement Evans became increasingly consumed with pursuing his patent
dues from those using his technology, which was now widespread. In
1817 he stated that his time was "wholly engrossed by law suits".
Evans had become somewhat obsessed and took on a siege mentality,
penning to his numerous lawyers (at its height he had fifteen working
on his various cases across the United States) his final work, known
Oliver Evans to His Counsel: Who are Engaged in Defence of His
Patent Rights, for the Improvements He Has Invented: Containing a
Short Account of Two Out of Eighty of His Inventions, Their Rise and
Progress in Despite of All Opposition and Difficulties, and Two of His
Patents with Explanations. Evans undertook travel to distant
areas of the country in order to find offenders. On a trip to Vermont,
Evans visited various mills and then promptly engaged a lawyer there
to press charges against twenty-two of them for perceived breaches of
his patent rights.
In his last years Evans compiled a list, since lost, of all his
inventions—eighty in total, as alluded to in the title of his last
publication to his lawyers. Some of his unfinished ideas that are
known include a scheme for the gas lighting of cities in the United
States, a means for raising sunken ships, a machine gun, a self-oiling
shaft bearing, various types of gearshift for steam carriages, a
dough-kneading machine and a perpetual baking oven. In one proposal in
1814, as the
British Navy threatened Washington, D.C. during the War
of 1812, Evans ventured to build a steam-powered frigate, but the
scheme didn't get far.
In 1816 his wife Sarah died, although the cause is unrecorded. Evans
remarried two years later in April 1818 to Hetty Ward, who was many
years his junior and the daughter of the New York innkeeper. In these
last years Evans lived in New York with his new wife. In early
1819 Evans developed an inflammation of the lungs and after a month of
illness, died on April 15, 1819. Just four days prior, on April
11, news had reached him in New York that the Mars Works in
Philadelphia had burned down, though his sons-in-law were committed to
re-establishing the business and did so further outside of the city.
Evans was buried at Zion Episcopal Church in Manhattan, but when that
church was sold his body was moved several times until finally resting
in 1890 in an unmarked common grave at Trinity Cemetery, Broadway at
157th Street, New York City.
The launch of the Oruktor Amphibolos as artistically imagined by Allyn
Cox in the Great Experiment Hall, United States Capitol
Undoubtedly, Evans' contributions to milling were profound and the
most rapidly adopted. Within his lifetime American milling had
undergone a revolution, and his designs allowed mills to be built on
industrial-scales with far greater efficiency. Now a more profitable
enterprise, the number of mills increased dramatically across the
United States. The price of flour fell significantly,
availability increased, and the automated drying and bolting processes
increased the quality and fineness of flour. In turn this led to major
shift in bread making—cheaper and better quality flour lowered the
cost of bread production and within a generation the majority of
bread consumption shifted from the home-made to store-bought. The
revolution was even more far-reaching in Europe where the so-called
"American System" was quickly adopted by the milling industry and
triggered major increases in food production—sorely needed in a
period of almost continual warfare at the turn of the 18th
Although several key elements of Evans's designs—such as bucket
elevators and Archimedean screws—were merely modified rather than
invented by him, the combination of many machines into an automated
and continuous production line was a unique idea that would prove
pivotal to both the
Industrial Revolution and the development of mass
production. Scientific and technical historians now generally credit
Evans as the first in a line of industrialists that culminated with
Henry Ford and the modern assembly line. His concept of
industrial automation was far ahead of its time, and the paradigm
shift within manufacturing towards that concept would take more than a
century to be fully realized. However continuous process manufacturing
would spread from Evans's milling designs, first to related industries
such as brewing and baking, then eventually to a wide variety of
products, as technology and prevailing opinion caught up. Evans
contributions were later deemed to be so important that eminent
Sigfried Giedion would conclude that in this
respect, Evans "opens a new chapter in the history of mankind".
Restored Evans Mills
Colvin Run Mill
Colvin Run Mill in Fairfax County, VA
Keefe-Mumbower Mill in Montgomery County, PA
Newlin Mill in
Delaware County, PA
Peirce Mill in Washington, D.C.
Sugar Loaf Mill in Augusta County, VA
Washington's Gristmill in Fairfax County, VA
Yates Mill in Wake County, NC
Evans' contributions to steam were not as ground-breaking as his
earlier work in milling but he played a critical role by inventing and
propagating the high-pressure steam engine in the United States.
Evans' engines, particularly the Columbian, were highly influential in
early steam-power applications in United States (particularly in the
evolution of steamboats and steam-powered industrial processes).
Yet once more Evans was ahead of the curve with many of his ideas, and
his death during steam's infancy in the United States meant that it
would be some time before many of his ideas would come to
fruition. For example, although a leading advocate for
high-pressure engines, it would not be until the 1830s that such
engines definitively replaced low-pressure designs. And Evans'
dream of a steam wagon, notwithstanding the brave attempt of the
Oruktor Amphibolos, would not see widespread adoption until even
later. And unlike his earlier contributions, Evans was just one of
many brilliant minds in steam technology. It would be another
inventor, Richard Trevithick, working totally independently of Evans
who would develop the high-pressure engine that would make that dream
And yet despite his formidable record and undoubted importance in the
history of technology, Evans never became a household name. In this
respect Evans was his own worst enemy. He was deeply affected by a
perceived lack of recognition and appreciation from his peers for his
work, and his bouts of depression would lead him to act in the
extreme, prematurely ending projects and vowing to give up inventing
many times over the course of his life. In time these feelings
turned to bitterness and vengeance towards those who criticized or
doubted him, and led him to become notoriously bombastic and
combative, often aggrandizing his accomplishments and fiercely
denouncing critics (such as the wild exaggerations as to the success
of the Oruktor Amphibolos at the end of his life). While his
relentless pursuit of patent rights did indeed force people to pay him
his due, the process badly damaged his reputation and made him many
enemies. A leading
Philadelphia merchant summed it up in 1802, stating
"few if any [millers] are inclined to give pompous blockhead, Oliver
Evans, the credit of inventing any of the useful contrivances in
milling for which he now enjoys patents."
And yet in spite of his anguish and the weight of his detractors,
Evans was steadfastly persistent in the pursuit of his ideas, a
quality which Evans felt would ultimately see him triumph. The French
translator of the Young Steam Engineer's Guide agreed, concluding
"posterity will place his name among those who are most truly
distinguished for their eminent services rendered to their country and
^ Evans would later write at length on his design vision:"[The
machines] perform every necessary movement of the grain, and meal,
from one part of the mill to another, and from one machine to another,
through all the various operations, from the time the grain is emptied
from the wagoner's bag ... until completely manufactured into
flour ... without the aid of manual labor, excepting to set the
different machines in motion."
^ A large assembly of interested millers stood in astonishment as they
watched the fully automated mill in progress, with one eventually
exclaiming "It will not do! It cannot do! It is impossible that it
^ "In Trevithick's boiler the feed water was heated by the exhaust
steam, which some have supposed was an idea borrowed from Evans, but
no proof has been adduced that the Cornish engineer had heard of the
prior American invention. We therefore conclude that it was original
with Trevithick, but he was not the first inventor." 
^ Ferguson, p. 11.
^ Bathe & Bathe, p. 2.
^ a b c Ferguson, p. 12.
^ Howe, p. 68.
^ Thomson, p. 29.
^ Kittredge, pp. 13–15.
^ Carey, p. 114.
^ Carey, p. 114-115.
^ Maynard, W. Barksdale (2015). The Brandywine: An Intimate Portrait.
Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 69–90.
^ Storck & Teague, Ch.12.
^ Smith, p. 6.
^ Hazen, Theodore. "The
Automation of Flour Milling in America". Pond
Lily. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
^ Klein, pp. 32-33.
^ Ferguson, p. 19.
^ Ferguson, pp. 19–20.
^ Evans 1805, p. 204.
^ Jacobson, Howard B.; Joseph S. Roueek (1959).
Society. New York, NY: Philosophical Library. p. 8.
^ Hounshell, David A. (1984), From the American System to Mass
Production, 1800-1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in
the United States, Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University
Press, ISBN 978-0-8018-2975-8, LCCN 83016269
^ Hobsbawm, p. 154.
^ Carnes, pp. 77–80.
^ Ferguson, p. 22.
^ Latimer, p. 210.
^ Latimer, pp. 207–217.
^ Bathe & Bathe, pp. 20–21.
^ Howe, p. 73.
^ Bathe & Bathe, p. 23.
^ Ferguson, pp. 25–26.
^ Smith, p. 8.
^ Ferguson, p. 27.
^ Ferguson & Baer, p. 6.
^ Carey, Mathew (1792). The American Museum. 12 (May):
225–226. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ "Overview of the Gristmill".
Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.
Archived from the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 6 April
^ Bathe & Bathe, pp. 25–28.
^ Ferguson, p. 30.
^ Evans 1795, p. 75.
^ Evans 1795, p. 115.
^ Thomson, p. 166.
^ Crèvecoeur, Michel G. J. (1801). Eighteenth-century Travels in
Pennsylvania & New York, Vol. 1. Paris: Imprimerie de Crapelet.
^ Ferguson, p. 33.
^ Ferguson, p. 35.
^ Thomson, p. 169.
^ Dickinson, pp. 93–94.
^ Musson, Albert Edward; Robinson, Eric (1969). Science and Technology
in the Industrial Revolution. Manchester, UK: Manchester University
Press. p. 72.
^ Evans 1805, p. 95.
^ Ferguson, p. 36.
^ Evans, Buckland & Lefer, pp. 37–40.
^ Evans, Buckland & Lefer, p. 37.
^ Thomson, p. 34.
^ Hunter, Louis C. (1985). A History of Industrial Power in the United
States, 1730–1930, Vol. 2: Steam Power. Charlottesville, VA:
University of Virginia Press.
^ Howe, p. 75.
^ "The Romance of the Steam Engine". Scientific American. New York,
NY: Munn and Co. 4 (18): 277. 4 May
^ Dickinson, p. 94.
^ a b Ferguson, p. 37.
^ Dickinson, pp. 94–95.
^ Howe, pp. 75–76.
^ Bathe & Bathe, pp. 68–69.
^ Bathe & Bathe, pp. 98.
^ Bathe & Bathe, pp. 98–99.
^ Ferguson, p. 41.
^ Larson, Ch.7.
^ a b Evans, Buckland & Lefer, p. 38.
^ a b Carey, p. 115.
^ a b c Lubar, Steve (Spring 2006). "Was This America's First
Steamboat, Locomotive, and Car?". Invention and Technology Magazine.
AmericanHeritage.com. 21 (4). Retrieved 2014-04-06.
^ Bathe & Bathe, pp. 109–112.
^ Ferguson, pp. 63–64.
^ Ferguson, pp. 42–43.
^ a b Evans 1805, Appendix.
^ Evans 1805, pp. 138–139.
^ Atack, Bateman & Weiss, p. 286.
^ Evans 1805, Ch.12-18.
^ Bathe & Bathe, pp. 140–142.
^ Ferguson, p. 44.
^ Ferguson, p. 43.
^ Evans 1805, p. 139.
^ Bathe & Bathe, p. 100.
^ Sinclair, Bruce (1974). Philadelphia's Philosopher Mechanics: A
History of the Franklin Institute. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins
University Press. pp. 142–144.
^ Banks, David (2008). An Introduction to Thermogeology: Ground Source
Heating and Cooling. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. p. 120.
^ Bath, Greville; Bathe, Dorothy (1943). Jacob Perkins: His
Inventions, His Times, & His Contemporaries. Philadelphia, PA: The
Historical Society of Pennsylvania. pp. 64–65.
^ Shachtman, Tom (2000). Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold (1st
Mariner Books ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co. p. 61.
^ Ferguson, p. 45.
^ Thomson, pp. 34–35.
^ a b Meyer, p. 44.
^ Klein, p. 36.
^ Wilson, Thomas (1823). Picture of Philadelphia, for 1824: Containing
the "Picture of Philadelphia, for 1811. Philadelphia, PA: Thomas Town.
^ Meyer, pp. 44–45.
^ Bathe & Bathe, pp. 172–173.
^ a b Ferguson, p. 47.
^ Ferguson, pp. 47–48.
^ Ferguson, Eugene S. (1962). "Kinematics of Mechanisms from the Time
of Watt". Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology
^ Kirby, p. 173.
^ Halsey, pp. 737–738.
^ Bathe & Bathe, p. 207.
^ Buck & Buck, p. 316.
^ Latrobe, Benjamin Henry; Van Horne, John C; Formwalt, Lee W.
(1984–1988). The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin
Henry Latrobe. Maryland Historical Society. New Haven: Yale University
Press. p. 513.
^ Evans 1805, p. vi.
^ Westcott, Thompson (1857). Life of John Fitch: The Inventor of the
Steam-boat. Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott.
^ Bathe & Bathe, pp. 184–186.
^ Ferguson, p. 51.
^ Buck & Buck, pp. 316–317.
^ Thurston, George H. (1857). Pittsburgh as it is. Pittsburgh, PA:
W.S. Haven. p. 72.
^ Bathe & Bathe, p. 242.
^ Ochoa, p. 61.
^ Ochoa, pp. 61–62.
^ Ferguson, pp. 52–53.
^ Ochoa, p. 62.
^ Ochoa, pp. 62–64.
^ Ferguson, p. 54.
^ see Matsuura, Jeffrey H. (2012). Jefferson vs. the Patent Trolls: A
Populist Vision of Intellectual Property Rights. Charlottesville, VA:
University of Virginia Press.
^ Ferguson, p. 56.
^ McPherson, Isaac (28 December 1813). "Memorial to the Congress of
Sundry Citizens of the United States, Praying Relief from the
Oppressive Operations of Oliver Evans' Patent". Niles' Weekly
Register. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
^ Ferguson, pp. 58-59.
^ Federico, p. 586.
^ Bathe & Bathe, p. 154.
^ a b Ferguson, p. 53.
^ George, Alice L. (2003). Old City Philadelphia: Cradle of American
Democracy. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 110.
^ Evans 1817, p. 46.
^ Evans 1813.
^ Ferguson, p. 59.
^ Ferguson, p. 60.
^ Ferguson, p. 62.
^ Howe, p. 82.
Oliver Evans burial sites Archived 2007-11-11 at the Wayback
Machine. "April 15, 1819: Oliver Evans,
Delaware inventor, died in New
York and was buried at Zion Episcopal Church near the Bowery on lower
Manhattan." Accessed on May 11, 2008.
^ Smith, pp. 8–9.
^ Storck & Teague, p. 171.
^ Levenstein, Harvey A. (1988). Revolution at the Table: The
Transformation of the American Diet. Oxford University Press: New
York, NY. p. 22.
^ Smith, pp. 9–10.
^ Burlingame, Ch.1.
^ Hounshell, David (1985). From the American System to Mass
Production, 1800–1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology
in the United States. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University.
pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-8018-3158-X.
^ Giedion, Sigfried (1948). Mechanization Takes Command: : a
Contribution to Anonymous History. New York, NY: Oxford University
Press. pp. 79–86.
^ Carnes, p. 82.
^ Atack, Bateman & Weiss, pp. 286–287.
^ Halsey, p. 739.
^ "The Romance of the Steam Engine". Scientific American. 4 (22): 277.
4 May 1861.
^ Gies, pp. 5–6.
^ Gies, p. 6.
Works by Evans
Evans, Oliver (1795). The Young Mill-wright and Miller's Guide.
Philadelphia, PA: Oliver Evans.
Evans, Oliver (1805). The Abortion of the Young Steam Engineer's
Guide. Philadelphia, PA: Fry & Kammerer.
Evans, Oliver (1813). Patent Right Oppression Exposed; Or, Knavery
Detected. In an Address, to Unite All Good People to Obtain a Repeal
of the Patent Laws. Philadelphia, PA: R. Folwell and G. Allchin.
Evans, Oliver (1817).
Oliver Evans to His Counsel: Who are Engaged in
Defence of His Patent Rights, for the Improvements He Has
Invented : Containing a Short Account of Two Out of Eighty of His
Inventions, Their Rise and Progress in Despite of All Opposition and
Difficulties, and Two of His Patents with Explanations. Philadelphia,
PA: Oliver Evans.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Bathe, Greville; Bathe, Dorothy (1935). Oliver Evans: A Chronicle of
Early American Engineering. Philadelphia, PA: Historical Society of
Ferguson, Eugene S. (1980). Oliver Evans: Inventive Genius of the
American Industrial Revolution. Wilmington, DE: Eleutherian
Mills-Hagley Foundation. ISBN 0-914650-18-1.
Howe, Henry (1840). Memoirs of the Most Eminent American Mechanics:
Also, Lives of Distinguished European Mechanics, Together with a
Collection of Anecdotes, Descriptions, Etc., Etc. New York, NY: W.F.
Buck, Solon J.; Buck, Elizabeth (1976). The Planting of Civilization
in Western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh
Press. ISBN 0-8229-5202-5.
Burlingame, Roger (1955). Machines That Built America, From The
Automatic Flour Mills Of
Oliver Evans To Henry Ford's System Of Mass
Production. New York, NY: Signet.
Carey, Charles W. (2009). American Inventors, Entrepreneurs and
Visionaries. New York, NY: Facts on File.
Carnes, Mark C. (2003). Invisible Giants: Fifty Americans Who Shaped
the Nation But Missed the History Books. New York, NY: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 1-4223-5615-9.
Dickinson, Henry W. (2011). A Short History of the Steam Engine. New
York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Evans, Harold; Buckland, Gail; Lefer, David (2006). They Made America:
From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of
Innovators. Boston, MA: Back Bay Books. ISBN 0-316-01385-4.
Ferguson, Eugene S.; Baer, Christopher (1979). Little Machines: Patent
Models in the Nineteenth Century. Greenville, DE: Hagley Museum.
Goddard, Dwight (1906). Eminent Engineers. New York, NY: Derry-Collard
Hobsbawm, Eric J. (1999). Industry and Empire: From 1750 to the
Present Day. London, UK: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-013749-1.
Kirby, Richard S. (1990). Engineering in History. Mineola, NY: Dover
Publications. ISBN 0-486-26412-2.
Kittredge, Henry G.; Gould, Arthur C. (1886). History of the American
Card-Clothing Industry. Worcester, MA: T.K. Earle.
Klein, Maury (2008). The Power Makers: Steam, Electricity, and the Men
Who Invented Modern America. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.
Larson, Len (2008). Dreams To Automobiles. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris.
ISBN 1-4363-7892-3. [self-published source?]
Meyer, David R. (2006). Networked Machinists: High-Technology
Industries in Antebellum America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins
University Press. ISBN 0-8018-8471-3.
Smith, Andrew F. (2011). Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the
Making of American Cuisine. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Storck, John; Teague, Walter D. (1952). Flour for Man's Bread: A
History of Milling. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Thomson, Ross (2009). Structures of Change in the Mechanical Age:
Technological Innovation in the United States, 1790–1865. Baltimore,
MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-9141-8.
Atack, Jeremy; Bateman, Fred; Weiss, Thomas (1980). "The Regional
Diffusion and Adoption of the Steam Engine in American Manufacturing".
Journal of Economic History. 40 (2): 281–308.
Federico, P.J. (1945). "The Patent Trials of Oliver Evans". Journal of
the Patent Office Society. 27: 586.
Gies, Joseph (Fall 1990). "The Genius Of Oliver Evans". American
Heritage of Invention & Technology. 6 (2).
Halsey, Harlan I. (1981). "The Choice Between High-Pressure and
Low-Pressure Steam Power in America in the Early Nineteenth Century".
Journal of Economic History. 41 (4): 723–744.
Latimer, George A. (March 1873). "A Sketch of the Life of Oliver
Evans". Harkness' Magazine. Wilmington, DE.
Ochoa, Tyler T. (2002). "Patent and Copyright Term Extension and the
Constitution: A Historical Perspective". Journal of the Copyright
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oliver Evans.
Oliver Evans, a brief biography at Inventors.about.com
Oliver Evans, a biography from the American Society of Mechanical
Oliver Evans, a biography from PBS's 'Who Made America' series.
Schematics and detailed explanations of Evans' Automatic-Mill and
Hopper-Boy from Theodore Hazen.
Reference Works on Oliver Evans, a comprehensive compilation from
"Evans, Oliver". The American Cyclopædia. 1879.
ISNI: 0000 0000 8086 7587
BNF: cb128686804 (data)