A native of state Pennsylvania, Robert Fulton also distinguished himself in the field of submarine construction. His vessel Nautilus demonstrated good enough results. However, the world-wide fame came to him after the invention of steamship. The vessels propelled by the force of steam had been designed before – first steam boats started running along French and American rivers back in late 17th century. Well, frankly speaking, they moved at a snail’s pace and could not reach good enough speed. That is why their inventors failed to make it into history. Fulton revised and reworked their ideas, introduced the required changes, took into account the mistakes of his predecessors, and his first steamship started running along Seine in 1803. Napoleon showed no appreciation of this generous gift, and offended inventor left for the USA. There, he ordered a more powerful engine and set afloat Clermont or North River Steamboat in 1807. The first run of Clermont 278 km long along Hudson River from New York to Albany lasted for 32 hours. The newspapers wrote that the boatmen would close their eyes horror-stricken when Fulton’s monster snorting fire and smoke was moving upstream against the wind. The return trip downstream took 30 hours. It was the first non-stop run of steamship over 24 hours long. Since that time, Clermont started making regular runs along Hudson, while on February 11, 1809 Fulton patented it. Later, he even gained the exclusive right for building steamships in Russia, yet failed to exercise it. After Fulton’s death, his native town of Little Britain was named after him. However, it is not the Fulton where Winston Churchill made his famous speech about iron curtain. This Fulton is located in the state of Missouri.
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