Robert Fulton Fact File: Lifespan: 1765 – 1815 *** Full Name: Robert Fulton *** Occupation: American Engineer and Inventor *** Date of Birth: Robert Fulton was born November 14th 1765 *** Place of Birth: Robert Fulton was born in Little Britain, Pennsylvania, USA *** Family background: His father was Robert Fulton and both his parents were originally from Ireland. He had four siblings, Isabella, Elizabeth, Mary and Abraham *** Early life and childhood: He grew up on the family farm but this was lost in 1771 when the farm failed and was foreclosed on by the bank. The family then moved on to Lancaster and his father died in 1774 *** Education: Robert Fulton began his education at home learning to read and write and from the age of eight was sent to attend a Quaker school ***
Robert Fulton Fact 1: Robert Fulton was born on November 14th 1765 and during the 18th century period in history when France and America both went through revolutions and the Industrial Revolution began in Britain.
Robert Fulton Fact 2: After the death of his father he moved to Philadelphia where he could earn money painting landscapes and portraits, drew machinery and houses all of which helped him to send money home to support his mother.
Robert Fulton Fact 3: By 1785 he had earned enough money to purchase a farm in Hopewell Township in Washington County and he moved his family and mother into the property.
Robert Fulton Fact 4: While he was living and working in Philadelphia he made the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, at the time he was well known for his inventions and scientific knowledge.
Robert Fulton Fact 5: By the time he reached twenty three years of age, he had decided to travel to Europe.
Robert Fulton Fact 6: He arrived in England in 1786. His father, who had been a close friend to the painter Benjamin West, and with whom Robert had corresponded, welcome him into his home where he settled for several years.
Robert Fulton Fact 7: Although he used his painting skills to provide himself with money to support himself he still continued with his experiments on mechanical inventions.
Robert Fulton Fact 8: He patented several of his inventions around this time including for a tub boat canal with inclines instead of the lock system and also for a dredging machine.
Robert Fulton Fact 9: He decided to move to Manchester in 1794 to gather some practical experience of English engineering involving canals.
Robert Fulton Fact 10: By 1797 he decided to travel to France, where he was quite well known for his innovations, and Paris similarly to London, was at the centre of all scientific matters in the 18th century.
Robert Fulton Fact 11: While in France between 1793 and 1797, he created his design for the first submarine, the “Nautilus”.
Robert Fulton Fact 12: The first test went successfully, the vessel stayed under water by twenty five feet for seventeen minutes.
Robert Fulton Fact 13: Robert Fulton asked that the government help subsidize the construction, but he was turned down, twice.
Robert Fulton Fact 14: Finally, in 1800, he decided to approach the Minister of Marine directly and was given permission to start building.
Robert Fulton Fact 15: A shipyard in Rouen, Perrier, was contracted to construct it and the first one was set to sail on the Seine Rivers in July of that year.
Robert Fulton Fact 16: While in France, Fulton met Robert R Livingston, at that time the US Ambassador to France, who was also of a scientifically minded nature.
Robert Fulton Fact 17: By 1804 Fulton decided to return to England and William Pitt, the British Prime Minister, commissioned him to build a series of weapons to be used by the Royal Navy as a result of invasion alarms by Napoleon.
Robert Fulton Fact 18: What he came up with was a torpedo, together with various other inventions, but after a decisive victory by Admiral Horatio Nelson during the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, though his inventions were only somewhat successful, and the risk of invasion were become a distant threat, he decided it was time to return home.
Robert Fulton Fact 19: Upon his return, he married Harriet Livingston, together they had four children.
Robert Fulton Fact 20: In collaboration with Robert Livingstone they built a commercial steamboat, the first, North River Steamboat, which was a passenger carrier. Later called the Clermont, the vessel was capable of a one hundred and fifty mile trip in thirty two hours from New York City to Albany, New York.
Robert Fulton Fact 21: His last design would be for a steam driven warship built specifically for the United States Navy and used during the War of 1812. Unfortunately he would not see the completed vessel but in his honor it was named after him.
Robert Fulton Fact 22: Robert Fulton died on February 24th 1815 as a result of contracting tuberculosis. He was laid to rest at Trinity Church Cemetery for Trinity Church (Episcopal) at Wall Street in New York City.
Influence & Legacy: His legacy would be that he was the first to build a commercial passenger carrying steamboat. He also invented the torpedo and the submarine.
Important Events of the era and during the life of Robert Fulton include: The American Revolution was fought and the United States Constitution was written in Philadelphia and the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland merged to become the United Kingdom.