Robert Fulton

Robert Fulton
Portrait of Fulton
Robert Fulton

(1765-11-14)November 14, 1765
DiedFebruary 24, 1815(1815-02-24) (aged 49)
Resting placeTrinity Church Cemetery
OccupationEngineer, inventor, businessman
Years active1793–1815
Known forSteamboat, Nautilus (1800 submarine)
Harriet Livingston (m. 1808)

Robert Fulton (November 14, 1765 – February 25, 1815) was an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing a commercially successful steamboat; the first was called The North River Steamboat of Clermonts. In 1807 that steamboat traveled on the Hudson River with passengers from New York City to Albany and back again, a round trip of 300 miles, in 62 hours. The success of his steamboat changed river traffic and trade on major American rivers.

In 1800, Fulton had been commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte, leader of France, to attempt to design a submarine; he produced the Nautilus, the first practical submarine in history.[1] Fulton is also credited with inventing some of the world's earliest naval torpedoes for use by the British Royal Navy.[2]

Fulton became interested in steam engines and the idea of steamboats in 1777 when he was around age 12 and visited state delegate William Henry of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who was interested in this topic. Henry had learned about inventor James Watt and his Watt steam engine on an earlier visit to England.

Early life and family

Robert Fulton was born on a farm in Little Britain, Pennsylvania, on November 14, 1765. He had three sisters – Isabella, Elizabeth, and Mary, and a younger brother, Abraham. Fulton's father, Robert, had been a close friend of the father of painter Benjamin West. The younger Fulton later met West in England and they became friends.[3]

A drawing of Fulton's invention Nautilus

Fulton stayed in Philadelphia for six years, where he painted portraits and landscapes, drew houses and machinery, and was able to send money home to help support his mother. In 1785 he bought a farm at Hopewell Township in Washington County for £80 Sterling and moved his mother and family into it. While in Philadelphia, he met a number of prominent figures in the city, including Benjamin Franklin (1705/1706-1790). He was known for both his political and writing abilities and his scientific and inventing knowledge. At the age of 23, Fulton decided to visit Europe.

On January 8, 1808, Fulton married Harriet Livingston (1786–1824), the daughter of Walter Livingston and niece of Robert Livingston, prominent men in the Hudson River area, whose family dated to the colonial era.[4][5] They had four children: Robert, Julia, Mary, and Cornelia.[5]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Robert Fulton
العربية: روبرت فلتون
asturianu: Robert Fulton
azərbaycanca: Robert Fulton
беларуская: Роберт Фултан
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Робэрт Фултан
català: Robert Fulton
čeština: Robert Fulton
español: Robert Fulton
euskara: Robert Fulton
français: Robert Fulton
Gaeilge: Robert Fulton
한국어: 로버트 풀턴
hrvatski: Robert Fulton
Bahasa Indonesia: Robert Fulton
íslenska: Robert Fulton
italiano: Robert Fulton
македонски: Роберт Фултон
Malagasy: Robert Fulton
Nederlands: Robert Fulton
norsk nynorsk: Robert Fulton
occitan: Robert Fulton
português: Robert Fulton
română: Robert Fulton
српски / srpski: Роберт Фултон
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Robert Fulton
svenska: Robert Fulton
Türkçe: Robert Fulton
українська: Роберт Фултон
Tiếng Việt: Robert Fulton
Winaray: Robert Fulton