Friday, August 26, 2011

John Fitch's Steamboat


‘…Corrected proofs in the morning. When I came home from Court I found that John Lockhart and Sophia were arrived by the steam-boat at Portobello, where they have a small lodging…’

The steamboat was in full use by 1827, when Scott’s daughter and son-in-law arrive from Portobello (Scott’s Journal: June 9, 1827).  We’ve covered the first trans-Atlantic crossing of the SS Sirius (1837) in an earlier post.  Early Scottish steamboat developers include James Taylor, Patrick Miller, and William Symington.  This day, August 26, in the year 1791, American inventor John Fitch received a patent for his oar-driven steamboat, the Perseverance.  Lacking financial backers, Fitch could not fully develop his invention.  It took until 1807, when Robert Fulton established a profitable steamboat business based on Fitch's innovation.

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