Putting Steam to a Dream

Oliver Evans

Oliver Evans

Most of the time, the realization of a dream is not an easy thing. Vision creates a dream, and it evolves over time. In the case of the steam engine, steam-engine pioneer Oliver Evans was that visionary.

In 1800, he said “The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam engines from one city to another, almost as fast as birds can fly, 15 or 20 miles an hour . . . A carriage will start from Washington in the morning, the passengers will breakfast at Baltimore, dine at Philadelphia and sup in New York the same day . . . ”

An inventor, Evans produced a steam-carriage design in 1789 and a high-pressure stationary steam engine in 1800. Although he was granted a patent for the steam-carriage design, he did not invent a working machine until 10 years later . . . mainly due to the lack of financial investors. They couldn’t “see” what he saw.

Many others followed him, dreaming and building on his ideas for more than 200 years. Today, man can go much faster than a bird . . . in some ways, because of one dreamer named Oliver.

What else do you know about Oliver Evans?

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