Robert Fulton


Fulton, Robert, an American engineer and inventor; born in Lan-caster County, Pennsylvania, in 1765. He turned his attention at an early age to drawing and portrait-painting, which he practised with skill and success in Philadelphia, where he had re-moved at the age of seventeen. After spending some years as an artist in London he decided to become a civil engineer, in 1793 formed a project to improve inland navigation, and at a later period invented a machine for spinning flax and another for making rope, both of which were patented in England. He subsequently went to Paris, where he resided in the family of Joel Barlow, and became the proprietor of the first panorama exhibited in that city. He also invented a submarine boat, called a "torpedo," to be used in naval warfare, which attracted the favorable notice of Napoleon, and in which Fulton succeeded in remaining under water and guiidi it with ease. Returning to New York in 1806, he, with the assistance of Robert Livingston, succeeded in completing, in 1807, the valuable discovery of steam navigation. He launched his first steam-boat, the Clermont, in 1807. It proved to be a decided success, making trips between that city and Albany at a speed of five miles an hour, which was soon increased by improved machinery. Many larger steamboats were constructed under his direction. Though Fulton expended a large amount of money upon his invention, he gained nothing by his patent. He married, in 1806, Harriet, daughter of Walter Livingston. Died 1815.

Key events during the life of Robert Fulton:


Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Robert Fulton and the Invention of the Steamboat  in  Great Inventors and Their Inventions  by  Frank P. Bachman
Paddle-Wheel Boat  in  Fifty Famous People  by  James Baldwin
Robert Fulton and the Steamboat  in  A First Book in American History  by  Edward Eggleston
Quicksilver Bob  in  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans  by  Edward Eggleston
The First Steamboat  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
Robert Fulton  in  Heroes of Progress in America  by  Charles Morris
Robert Fulton  in  Four American Inventors  by  Frances M. Perry
Robert Fulton  in  Builders of Our Country: Book II  by  Gertrude van Duyn Southworth

Image Links

Robert Fulton
 in Great Inventors and Their Inventions

Fulton and the Lead Pencil
 in Great Inventors and Their Inventions

Fulton showing his boat to Livingston, in Paris
 in Great Inventors and Their Inventions

Watching the Clermont Steam up the Hudson River
 in Great Inventors and Their Inventions

Robert Fulton and his paddle boat
 in Fifty Famous People

Fulton's First Invention
 in A First Book in American History

Fulton's First Steamboat
 in A First Book in American History

Robert Fulton
 in Four American Inventors

Fulton's first Experiment
 in Four American Inventors

Short Biography