Thursday, August 16, 2007

Robert Fulton's Great Invention

A great reminder of some history from the LA Times. (HT: RCP)

Tomorrow is the two hundreth anniversity of the maiden voyage of the Clermont, the first commercially viable steamship. The invention completely changed the face of travel in the 19th century, and had an amazing impact on the growth of the United States, opening up the major river valleys of the entire North American continent to settlement.

"At the end of the century, historian Henry Adams, in assessing Fulton's feat that day, marked it "as the beginning of a new era in America -- a date which separated the colonial from the independent stage of growth," for the U.S. was alone in possessing such a vessel and would be for decades. He added that "the problem of steam navigation, so far as it applied to rivers and harbors, was settled, and for the first time America could consider herself mistress of her vast resources."

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