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1765, Nov 141793-18151815, Feb 24
an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing a commercially successful steamboat called The North River Steamboat of Claremont. That steamboat went with passengers from New York City to Albany and back again, a round trip of 300 miles, in 62 hours in 1807. In 1800, he was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the "Nautilus", which was the first practical submarine in history. He is also credited with inventing some of the world's earliest naval torpedoes for use by the British Royal Navy.
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 Timeline (5)
08/22/1787-John Fitch's steamboat Perseverance completes its test run, years before Robert Fulton
08/17/1807-Robert Fulton's steamboat Clermont begins first trip up Hudson River
09/04/1807-North River Steamboat -- world's first commercially successful steamboat (designed by Robert Fulton) -- begins operations
02/11/1809-Robert Fulton patents the steamboat 
02/24/1815-Robert Fulton dies from exposure
 Quotes (4) • View in Quotations
As the component parts of all new machines may be said to be old[,] it is a nice discriminating judgment, which discovers that a particular arrangement will produce a new and desired effect. ... Therefore, the mechanic should sit down among levers, screws, wedges, wheels, etc. like a poet among the letters of the alphabet, considering them as the exhibition of his thoughts; in which a new arrangement transmits a new idea to the world.
But how to raise a sum in the different States has been my greatest difficulty.
My steamboat voyage to Albany and back, has turned out rather more favorable than I had calculated. The distance from New York to Albany is one hundred and fifty miles; I ran it up in thirty-two hours, and down in thirty. I had a light breeze against me the whole way, both going and coming, and the voyage has been performed wholly by, the power of the steam engine. I overtook many sloops and schooners beating to windward and parted with them as if they had been at anchor. The power of propelling boats by steam is now fully proved.
The fear of meeting the opposition of envy, or the illiberality of ignorance is, no doubt, the frequent cause of preventing many ingenious men from ushering opinions into the world which deviate from common practice. Hence for want of energy, the young idea is shackled with timidity and a useful thought is buried in the impenetrable gloom of eternal oblivion.
 Contemporaries
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Robert Fulton1765, Nov 141793
 
18151815, Feb 24

John Fitch1743, Jan 211780
 
17991798, Jul 2
 an American inventor, clockmaker, entrepreneur and engineer. He was most famous for operating the...
Thomas Paine [2]1736, Jan 291761
 
18041809, Jun 8
 an English-American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary. One of...
Jean-Pierre Blanchard1753, Jul 41784
 
18081809, Mar 7
 a French inventor, best known as a pioneer in balloon flight. Blanchard toured Europe, demonstrat...
Charles Newbold17801790
 
1809unknown
 an American blacksmith born in 1780 in Chesterfield Township, New Jersey. On June 26, 1797, Newbo...
David Peacockunknown1800
 
 
1809unknown
 from New Jersey, was granted a patent on 1 April 1807 for an iron plow. Charles Newbold, a previo...
Pellegrino Turriunknown1800
 
 
1809unknown
 an Italian inventor, invented a mechanical typing machine, one of the first typewriters at the st...
Philip Astley1742, Jan 81759
 
18141814, Jan 27
 an English equestrian, circus owner, and inventor, regarded as being the "father of the modern ci...
Samuel Hopkins1743, Dec 91759
 
18191818
 an American inventor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On July 31, 1790, he was granted the first ...
James S. McLeanunknown1790
 
1819unknown
 James Sylvanus McLean, a native of York, Pennsylvania, received a patent for an improvement in pi...
Peter Durandunknown1810
 
1819unknown
 a British merchant who is widely credited with receiving the first patent for the idea of preserv...
Jethro Wood1774, Mar 161810
 
18191834
 of Scipio, NY. He received two patents, one in 1814 and the other in 1819. His plow was cast iron...
Eli Whitney1765, Dec 81793
 
18251825, Jan 8
 an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin. This was one of the key inventions ...
Rene Laennec1781, Feb 171804
 
18261826, Aug 13
 a French physician. He invented the stethoscope in 1816, while working at the Hôpital Necker, an...
Sir Humphry Davy1778, Dec 171795
 
18291829, May 29
 a Cornish chemist and inventor, who is best remembered today for his discoveries of several alkal...
Pavel Schilling1786, Apr 51810
 
18371837, Jul 25
 a diplomat of Baltic German origin employed in the service of Russia in Germany, and who built a ...
Ithiel Town1784, Oct 31810
 
18431844, Jun 13
 a prominent American architect and civil engineer. One of the first generation of professional ar...
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