"Oliver Evans' 'Oructor Amphibolis,' or, Amphibious Digger, the First American Locomotive--1804"

Summary

Inventor and engineer Oliver Evans believed that steam engines, used to power mills and steamboats, could also propel land vehicles. An opportunity to experiment came with a commission from the Philadelphia Board of Health for a steam dredge. Evans designed a 30-foot long, 17-ton amphibious digger that moved successfully over land in 1805. This onetime stunt proved the viability of steam-powered carriages.

Inventor and engineer Oliver Evans believed that steam engines, used to power mills and steamboats, could also propel land vehicles. An opportunity to experiment came with a commission from the Philadelphia Board of Health for a steam dredge. Evans designed a 30-foot long, 17-ton amphibious digger that moved successfully over land in 1805. This onetime stunt proved the viability of steam-powered carriages.

Artifact

Photographic print

Subject Date

1804

Creators

Unknown

Collection Title

Museum Vertical File 

 On Exhibit

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Object ID

42.379.1

Material

Paper (Fiber product)

Technique

Gelatin silver process

Color

Black-and-white (Colors)

Dimensions

Height: 4.5 in

Width: 5.625 in

Inscriptions

on front: OLIVER EVANS' "ORUCTOR AMPHIBOLIS," OR AMPHIBIOUS DIGGER. / THE FIRST AMERICAN LOCOMOTIVE-- 1804

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