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Oliver Evans. Engraving of Oliver Evans (1755- 1819), American engineer. Evans was apprenticed to a wagon-maker, but by 1777 had invented a high- speed process for making textile machinery. Opening a flour mill with his brothers, Evans made improvements to the machinery so that only one person was needed to supervise the whole corn grinding process; this was the first automatic corn mill. He began developing high pressure steam engines, despite their tendency to explode. His amphibious dredging machine of 1804 was the first American steam-driven road vehicle. Evans' successful dealings as a merchant, in addition to his patent royalties, made him his fortune.
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