Seamboats

Morgan Campbell and Alison Wamsley

Steamboat history

We tell our schoolchildren that Robert Fulton invented the first steamboat. What Fulton did do was locate an efficient new Watt engine in a warehouse. And in 1807 he installed it in a well-designed boat. We had a huge network of inland rivers we badly needed to navigate. Fulton enjoyed immediate commercial success.

He had access to a lot of new technology by 1807, and he put his boat together with an ease that would've been impossible just a few years before. His patent makes no pretense about inventing the steamboat. It acknowledges 30 years of early steamboat development.

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