Oliver Evans, American inventor and millwright, c 1800.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Woodcut. Oliver Evans (1755-1819) was born and raised in Delaware, USA. In the 1780s his two brothers bought some land in New Castle County, Delaware, from their father with the intension of building a mill. Oliver was asked to design machinery for the mill, which he did with great ingenuity, designing and installing the first automatic corn mill (the first automated continuous production line in the world). Evans went on to design the first high-presure steam engine (1790) and a steam dredger (1804).