Perspective view of machinery in Fulton's 'Clermont', 1807.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithograph by C F Cheffins after a drawing by H B Barlow, of the paddle steamer built by American engineer Robert Fulton (1765-1815). This was the first steamboat built in America. Fulton built the 'Clermont' and launched it on the Hudson River in 1807, with the vessel completing the voyage to Albany (nearly 150 miles) in 32 hours. Although Fulton was not the first to apply steam to inland navigation, he was the first to do so successfully, and was the first to demonstrate that steam-propelled ships were practical financially. The Clermont was rebuilt and refitted, and continued to operate on the Hudson for many years. Illustration from 'A sketch of the origin and progress of steam navigation from authentic documents' by steam navigation pioneer Bennet Woodcroft (1803-1879) published in London in 1848.