1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Evans, Oliver
EVANS, OLIVER (1755–1819), American mechanician, was born at Newport, Delaware, in 1755. He was apprenticed to a wheelwright, and at the age of twenty-two he invented a machine for making the card-teeth used in carding wool and cotton. In 1780 he became partner with his brothers, who were practical millers, and soon introduced various labour-saving appliances which both cheapened and improved the processes of flour milling. Turning his attention to the steam engine, he employed steam at a relatively high pressure, and the plans of his invention which he sent over to England in 1787 and in 1794–1795 are said to have been seen by R. Trevithick, whom in that case he anticipated in the adoption of the high-pressure principle. He made use of his engine for driving mill machinery; and in 1803 he constructed a steam dredging machine, which also propelled itself on land. In 1819 a disastrous fire broke out in his factory at Pittsburg, and he did not long survive it, dying at New York on the 21st of April 1819.