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Birth date of Robert Fulton, inventor, engineer

By @ 11/14/96 in November

fultonNovember 14, 1765

Robert Fulton was born in Pennsylvania and originally showed promise to be an artist. He moved to London to study painting, and became wrapped up in England’s Industrial Revolution. Fascinated by new machines and technology, he decided to become a professional engineer, and continued painting only as a hobby. He was interested in using steam power to drive a boat, an idea that was demonstrated seven years earlier in America. Though Fulton didn’t invent the steamboat, as many believe, he did deliver the first commercially successful prototype, using a British steam engine, a flat hull, and a square stern. The Clermont was launched on August 17, 1807, sailing from New York to Albany. It soon entered regular service, and inspired similar routes on six different rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The steamboat helped manufacturers deliver their goods much more quickly than they could across hilly terrain, and helped galvanize America’s own Industrial Revolution. It also opened much more land for exploration and settlement. Fulton was interested in other civil and mechanical engineering projects as well, having built the first successful submarine in 1804 as well as a torpedo boat. He died of pneumonia in 1815.

Why are technological improvements important in transportation? What would your life be like without the use of cars, trains, or planes?