Robert Fulton

1765-1815

Timeline of His Life


  • 1765--Born on November 14.
  • 1777--When he was 12 years old, he visited Pennsylvania State Delegate, William Henry.
  • 1785--Fulton met Benjamin Franklin.
  • 1793--Fulton decided to quit painting.
  • 1800--He was commissioned by Napoleon Bonparte, the Emporer of France, to design the "Nautilus".
  • 1804--He tested the first successful submarine for the British Navy.
  • 1807--on August 7, he debuted his steamboat, the Clermont, in New York.
  • 1815--Fulton died of pneumonia.

About Him

Robert Fulton started as a painter of portraits and landscapes. He even painted Benjamin Franklin's portrait. He quit painting to become an inventor. He invented the Nautilus submarine for France but Napoleon would not pay to help him make it. Fulton went to England and there he built submarines for the British Navy. Those submarines had the first successful torpedoes, which Fulton also invented. In 1806, Fulton came back to the United Stated. He built the steamboat, the Clermont. Within five years, Fulton had boats running on six major rivers plus the Chesapeake Bay. Steamboat travel was very important to the industrial revolution in America. His last major invention was a steam powered warship for the United States, but he died before it was finished. Fulton died in 1815 after he got sick while trying to save his friend who fell through the ice of the Husdon River.

Character Traits

Robert Fulton was...


  • Creative. He was a painter and an inventor.
  • Brilliant. He built a successful submarine, torpedoes, steamboat, and steam powered war ship.
  • Determined. He wanted to invent new things to help the world.
  • Ambitious. He was eager to be successful and traveled around the world to do it.

New Vocabulary

  1. Commissioned--when someone asks you to do something
  2. Credited--he was widely famous and known for some things.
  3. Commercially--something done for business.
  4. Torpedoes--bombs used underwater.
  5. Delegate--someone who is part of a group.