STEAM PIONEER


| January/February 1983



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Since IMA is a magazine devoted to steam traction engine collectors, we feel that everything connected with steam power is of interest.

That's why this month we devote some space to Oliver Evans, of Philadelphia, Pa., who designed and built the first engine driven by steam, which he called the 'Orukter Amphibolus'.

Evans started experimenting with steam in 1772, when he was 17 years old. He had to put up with a lot of ribbing, for the idea of utilizing steam to do anything was considered an impossible dream.

In 1787, the Maryland Legislature granted him a 14-year contract for exclusive use of its roads for steam-driven wagons. That same year, he also stated publicly that he could drive not only wagons with steam, but mills as well.

He published a bet of $3,000 that he could 'make a carriage to run upon a level road against the swiftest horse that could be found' but nobody challenged him. So wiseacres called him foolish.

A poet summed up what Evans claimed that his steam wagon would travel...