Fulton, Robert


U.S. inventor who brought steamboating to commercial success.

As a young man, Fulton dreamed of becoming a painter and went to Paris to study. But he soon turned to engineering and inventions. He designed an experimental submarine, which caught the eye of Livingston, the American ambassador to France. Livingston convinced Fulton to return to the United States and concentrate on steamboat design.

Fulton's first boat, the 'Clermont', was tested on the Hudson River. In the hull of the ship, he placed an engine he had shipped from England, and on each side, a primitive paddle wheel. The boat carried on its way to Albany, arriving thirty-two hours later and Fulton's s steamboat began service in New York in 1807.

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His Life and his Results