Robert Fulton

  • Birth

    Robert Fulton was born on a farm in Little Britain, Pennsylvania, on November 14, 1765.
  • Parents

    His father Robert Fulton was born in Ireland and emigrated to Philadelphia where he married Mary Smith.
  • childhood

    Fulton showed an early interest in mechanical things. At the early age of 13, he invented paddle wheels to go alongside his father's fishing boat.
  • Art

    He learned to sketch early on and by age 17 he wanted to become an artist. His father had been a close friend to the father of painter Benjamin West.
  • Submarines

    In 1797, Fulton went to France, where Claude de Jouffroy had made a working paddle steamer in 1783, and commenced experimenting with submarine torpedoes and torpedo boats.
  • His Farm

    In 1785 he bought a farm at Hopewell, Pennsylvania for £80 Sterling and moved his mother and family onto it. While in Philadelphia, he met Benjamin Franklin.
  • Steamboat plans

    Steamboat plans
    As early as 1793, Fulton proposed plans for steam-powered vessels to both the United States and British governments
  • Trip to Paris

    In 1797 he went to Paris where his fame as an inventor was well known.
  • The Nautilus

    The Nautilus
    Fulton designed the first working submarine, the Nautilus between 1793 and 1797, while living in France. When tested his submarine went underwater for 17 minutes in 25 feet of water.
  • Marriage

    In 1806, Fulton returned to America and married Harriet Livingston, the niece of Robert Livingston and daughter of Walter Livingston. They had four children.
  • Death

    Fulton died in 1815 from consumption. He had been walking home on the frozen Hudson River when one of his friends, Addis Emmet, fell through the ice. In the attempt to rescue his friend, Fulton got soaked with icy water and on the journey home he caught pneumonia. When he got home his sickness worsened. He contracted consumption and died at 49 years old.
  • Statue

    In 1816, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania donated a marble statue of Fulton to the National Statuary Hall Collection in the US Capitol Building.
  • Today boats and submarines

    Today boats and submarines
    Robert Fulton has created one of the best inventions in the history of the world. We still use his inventions today to travel, defend, and much more.