It was in Paris that the first steamboat by Robert Fulton was tested. Without convincing French opinion, he prusued hir carreer in the USA.
Robert Fulton steamboat ‘s on the Seine
On August 9, 1803, around 6 o’clock in the evening, the American Robert Fulton sailed the first steamboat on the Seine. The ship, built on the Ile aux Cygnes, in Paris, is 33 meters long and 2.80 meters wide – a large boat. He doesn’t have a name. It is simply called the « Fulton boat« . Napoleon, who was asked by the engineer to ask the Academy of Sciences to express his opinion on the boat, badly received this request on the pretext that « In each capital of Europe, there is a crowd of adventurers and men projects that travel the world, offering all sovereigns alleged discoveries that exist only in their imagination. They are all charlatans or impostors, who have no other goal than to get money. This American and the number, tell me no more about it.
Napoleon was not convinced by Robert Fulton ‘s steamboat
Fulton is an autodidact and his creativity is rooted, as often in this time, in the practice of industrial design. Born in 1765 in Pennsylvania into a poor family, he made a name for himself as a miniaturist painter, then in 1786, emigrated to Great Britain where he became a machine designer. In 1796, he came to Paris to offer the Directory a model of submarine supposed to guarantee his country and its allies the freedom of the seas. Conclusive trials took place in 1800-1801, without being able to convince the political authorities. Robert Fulton ended up building a steamboat in August 1807 in the United States called the « Clermont« . The ship makes a round trip between New York and the Albany, covering 300 miles in more than 60 hours. A real feat which was a dazzling success, very quickly launching the marketing of this type of boat in America. It will be necessary to wait a few years before seeing the steamboat arrive in Europe. It was thanks to the support of Robert Livingston, American charge d’affaires in Paris, that Fulton was able to carry out his studies on steam propulsion.