The Basics

Oil on Canvas

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.

About the Cox Corridors Murals

The first floor of the U.S. Capitol's House wing is elaborately decorated with wall and ceiling murals by artist Allyn Cox. The central east-west corridor is referred to as the Great Experiment Hall because it chronicles in 16 murals the legislative milestones of three centuries, from the signing of the Mayflower Compact in 1629 to the enactment of women's suffrage in 1920.