Steam Powered Amphibious Boat, 1804
Oil on Canvas
Great Experiment Hall
In 1802 American inventor Oliver Evans developed a high-pressure steam engine that produced more power and weighed less than earlier models. His design made it practical to use steam power for land vehicles, such as trains, or boats. The mural is set in 1804 and depicts the nation's first steam-powered amphibious dredging scow, using one of Evans's engines, entering the Schuylkill River.
Left: The steamboat on the Platte River symbolizes the breakthrough in water travel made possible by Evans's invention.
Right: The world's first railroad suspension bridge (designed by John Roebling, who would later create the Brooklyn Bridge), symbolizing steam-powered land travel, spans the Niagara River near Niagara Falls.
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