Born in Newport, Delaware, Evans received little formal education and in his mid-teens was apprenticed to a wheelwright. Going into business with his brothers, he then worked for over a decade designing, building and perfecting an automated mill with devices such as bucket chains and conveyor belts. In doing so Evans designed a continuous process of manufacturing that required no human labor. This novel concept would prove critical to the industrial revolution and the development of mass production. Later in life Evans turned his attention to steam power, and built the first high-pressure steam engine in the United States in 1801, developing his design independently of Richard Trevithick, who built the first in the world a year earlier. Evans was a driving force in the development and adoption of high-pressure steam engines in the United States. Evans dreamed of building a steam-powered wagon and would eventually construct and run one in 1805. Known as the Oruktor Amphibolos, it was the first automobile in the United States and the world’s first amphibious vehicle, though it was too primitive to be a success as either.