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Robert Fulton

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Robert Fulton (1765–1815), American engineer and inventor, is known primarily for building the first commercially successful steamboat to sail America’s waters.  A mechanical genius with many talents, Fulton designed many other devices, such as submarines and steam warships; he also engineered canal systems. He was called upon to devise a canal transport system that would operate with little water and in hilly terrain. His response is explained in his Treatise on the Improvement of Canal Navigation (1796), which includes a history of the canal and its use and construction.

To see a gallery of images of Fulton’s work, click on any image below.


Fulton in the History of Hydraulics Collection:

  • A Treatise on the Improvement of Canal Navigation (original copy), published in London, 1796. (Call number: TC 744 F97)
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Last modified on February 24th, 2016
Posted on April 14th, 2011

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