August 22, 2010

Steamboat Demonstrated – 1787

On this day in 1787, John Fitch made his first successful demonstration of his steamboat in the Delaware River. It was not only a first for him, it was a first for the United States.

Unfortunately for Fitch, he was not able to profit from his idea as much as he hoped—and he isn't even the guy we usually hold up in the history books. It is Robert Fulton, working a couple of decades later, who was able to make steamboats profitable and who is most often mentioned when discussing this leap forward in transportation.

Did you know...?

Today's nuclear-powered submarines and warships are powered by steam-driven turbines. The nuclear reactors heat the water into steam.

Steamships were given names that included two-letter codes for what kind of steam power they had. “SS” meant Screw Steamer, “PS” meant Paddle Steamer, and “TS” meant Turbine Ship.

Here are instructions for making a steam-powered “rocket boat.”

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