One of the world’s first steamboats successfully completed a maiden voyage on the river Clyde in Scotland in 1798. That same year, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston proposed to the New York Legislature that he would develop a new form of public transportation, the steamboat ferry, in return for a monopoly on steam navigation in New York waters. Despite the Legislature’s skepticism that steamboat technology was viable, legislation granting Livingston the monopoly was enacted. [Read more…] about Hudson River Steamboats & Gibbons v. Ogden: 200 Years of the Commerce Clause
Fulton’s Steamboat, The Black Ball Line & The Erie Canal
For thousands of years prior to the early 1800s maritime transportation was dependent on sailing ships. In the first few decades of the 19th century however, entrepreneurs in New York helped revolutionize the industry so that one hundred years later sailing ships were an anachronism that hardly existed, except for show.
In the latter part of the 1700s the development of the Boulton & Watt steam engine in England made it theoretically possible to power a boat. Before 1800 a number of inventors, including New Yorkers such as Nicholas Roosevelt, John Fitch, Robert R. Livingston, John Stevens III and others, experimented with boats that used such steam engines. Before Robert Fulton made his first run in the North River steamboat (later renamed Clermont) in 1807 more than a dozen steamboats had been constructed in the United States with varying degrees of success. There were difficulties in making such craft commercially viable. [Read more…] about Fulton’s Steamboat, The Black Ball Line & The Erie Canal
Early Years Of Steamboating On The Hudson
In 1798, Robert R. Livingston, Jr. (1746-1813) requested and obtained a monopoly from the New York State Legislature granting him the exclusive right to operate passenger steamboats on the Hudson River.
The Livingston family was very wealthy and owned the large estate, Clermont, just south of Albany. They ran an iron foundry and machine shop for many years where they had installed a steam engine to power the equipment. [Read more…] about Early Years Of Steamboating On The Hudson
Robert Fulton Lecture At Adirondack Museum
In the fourth installment of the Adirondack Museum’s Cabin Fever Sundays series, New York Council for the Humanities speaker Robert Arnold III will explore the legacy of Robert Fulton, the creator of the first commercially successful steamboat.
Arnold will address the ways Fulton’s steamboat helped to catalyze the expansion of steam power into the energy source that propelled America’s Industrial Revolution. Fulton was a talented artist and inventor who also devised canal locks used in Britain, and the first workable submarine (for Napoleon Bonaparte). [Read more…] about Robert Fulton Lecture At Adirondack Museum