- America's First Great Industrial Inventor -
Oliver Evans (1755 - 1819), one of the early industrial revolutions inventive genius, changed American typical pre-Colonial grist mills. He was born in Newport, Delaware in 1755. He from a young age was continually experimenting with labor saving devices and new uses for gears. Evans greatest accomplishment was the automated flour mill.
His system of elevators, and descenders moved grain through several stories of the mill. He also devised a system of horizontal movers, with the endless screw, and an exceedingly original improvement, the hopper-boy, a revolving rake, spreader and cooler, used in drying and cooling of flour and meal.
His genius was acknowledged by George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson who commissioned Evans to build and install machinery in their mills.
Evans connected the milling process into one continuous system from cleaning reels and fans to rectilinear bolters (reels).
The Evans system continued the demand for white, refined, keep-able flour and prevented dishonest grist millers from adulterating brown flour with sawdust.