Canal boats, 1796.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving after a drawing by inventor Robert Fulton (1765-1815) from his 'A treatise on the improvement of canal navigation' (London, 1796). Top: the market or pasage boat. Cente: the dispatch boat. Bottom: the common four-ton boat. Many canals were built in England in the late 18th century. Fulton was convinced that expensive locks and aqueducts were not necesary. He believed it would be cheaper to use small canals with inclined planes between different levels and cable viaducts over rivers. 'Tub and cistern' lifting motors provided the power.