Painter, inventor and
engineer, Robert Fulton was a man of many talents.
He passionately believed that America's economic
future rested on the transformation of its numerous
waterways into navigable highways of commerce.
Fulton achieved his place in history by producing
the first commercially successful steamboat.
Fulton's success raised the curtain for the
commercial development of America's waterways,
particularly the Ohio and the Mississippi.
In 1802 Fulton contracted with Robert Livingstone to
build a steamboat that would ply the Hudson River.
Livingstone held the rights for steamboat navigation
on the waterway. By August 1807, Clinton's boat was
ready for a trial run from New York City to Albany
On the afternoon of
Monday August 17, the vessel was moored on the East
River off Greenwich Village. Aboard were
Fulton, Livingston and numerous adventurous friends
eager to make the historic voyage. The boat (called
the Clermont by history although there is no
evidence that Fulton used this name) was an odd
looking craft 150 fifty feet long and 13 feet wide,
drawing 2 feet of water. Amidships was her engine, a
steam boiler that belched flame and smoke as it
powered two paddle wheels placed on either side of
At one o'clock
Fulton cast off and began his journey into history.
Trouble reared its head almost immediately as the
ship's engine stopped shortly after leaving the
dock. Fulton soon fixed the problem and the
voyage resumed. The boat headed up river at a speed
of about 5 miles per hour. Twenty-four hours
later the intrepid adventurers arrived at Robert
Livingstone's manor house 110 miles up the Hudson.
The journey ended the following day after an 8-hour
voyage to Albany. The following day - Thursday
August 20 - Fulton took on some passengers and began
his return voyage, again stopping at Livingston's
manor before continuing to New York City the next
This 30" long model of the
Clermont riverboat features:
parts are wooden or metal
Color and features are of the time the ship's
public surprise appearance on June 26th, 1897.
& H is $90